Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

May 8, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction and sentencing of Joseph Cyril McMillian of 11 S. Somerset Avenue, Crisfield. Yesterday, McMillian, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of credit card fraud and one count of a continuing course of felony theft in connection with his business, Somer's Cove Market (now known as Crisfield Market), located at 330 Cove St., Crisfield.

Between May 1999 through December 1999, McMillian used the identity of his deceased partner, George A. Matarazzo, to apply for various credit cards and commercial credit accounts, including American Express, Home Depot/Maintenance Warehouse, 84 Lumber Company and other financing companies, which he then used to illegally obtain money and merchandise. Matarazzo died July 14, 1999, whereas many of these accounts were opened in his name after that date. A handwriting expert for the Maryland State Police Crime Lab analyzed the questioned documents and found that the signature purported to be Matarazzo's was not Matarazzo's, and that the printing and cursive writing on the application documents for credit was that of McMillian's.

Somerset County Circuit Court Judge Daniel M. Long sentenced McMillian to 20 years incarceration (two 10-year consecutive sentences) with all but 18 months (9 months of active incarceration on each count) suspended, with the recommendation by the judge that the sentence be served without parole, in light of the ongoing nature of the crime. Additionally, McMillian was placed on a period of 5 years supervised probation beginning yesterday. He was ordered to pay $25,000 towards total restitution of $246,020.85 by July 9, and if not, his probation may be revoked, exposing him to the full 20 years of incarceration. A civil judgment was also entered against McMillian in favor of each of the five victims. The five victims were the American Express Company, Maintenance Warehouse/Corporation of America, Triumphe Leasing Network, Inc, KLC-UCP, Inc. and Anne Matarazzo, the widow of George Matarazzo.

This was the first case the Attorney General's Office prosecuted under Maryland's identity theft law, which became effective October 1999. "Identity fraud is becoming an ever-increasing problem. We will prosecute those who steal by using credit obtained under someone else's name just as we prosecute those who steal in other ways," said Attorney General Curran.

The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigations Division, and the Maryland State Police, after a referral by the State's Attorney for Somerset County, the Honorable Logan C. Widdowson.