Monday, October 20, 2014

California Man Sentenced to 137 Months for Possession of Counterfeit Access Devices and Firearm Possession

BOISE – Lajai Lamar Pridgette, 29, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 137 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possessing counterfeit access devices; possession of counterfeit access device making equipment; possession of a firearm by a prohibited person; and transportation of a stolen vehicle, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. United States District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Pridgette to pay $13,709.16 in restitution, as well as forfeiture of contraband and property. He was found guilty on all counts after a five- day jury trial in July.

According to evidence presented at trial, Lajai Pridgette was arrested the evening of October 30, 2013, by an Idaho State Trooper in Gooding County who was on the lookout for a suspect driving a Ford Mustang involved in two separate drive-by shootings on Interstate 84 earlier that evening. Pridgette was the sole occupant of the Mustang. While searching the Mustang, law enforcement officers found the firearm that had been used in the two shootings. One shot had narrowly missed occupants of a car in Ada County; the other narrowly missed the occupant of a pickup truck in Elmore County. As a convicted felon, Pridgette was prohibited from possessing the firearm. Also during the search of the Mustang, officers found 67 counterfeit and unauthorized credit cards, a credit card embosser, a stolen laptop computer, and a magnetic strip reader/writer. The 2013 Mustang that Pridgette was driving was reported stolen by a rental car company.

“Justice is well-served by this serious and significant sentence,” said Olson. “Lajai Pridgette, through both his violent conduct and his intent to steal from others with fraudulent credit cards, posed a serious threat to our Idaho communities. That threat was ended through outstanding, cooperative police work by the Idaho State Police, the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I commend the thorough investigation and detailed prosecution of this case.”