A Marina del Ray man was sentenced today to 45 months in federal prison for stealing the identities of a married couple who had died days earlier and then using them to unlawfully gain access to their bank accounts, credit cards, and retirement accounts, fraudulently obtaining more than $137,000 in the process.

Kristopher Brent Cobb, 41, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who also ordered him to pay $137,573 in restitution. At today’s hearing, Judge Walter said that Cobb’s crimes had caused “immense grief” to the married couple’s surviving child.

Cobb pleaded guilty in August 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

On September 11, 2019, a man identified in court documents as “Victim 1” murdered Victim 2 (his wife) and Victim 3 (their son), attempted to kill Victim 4 (their daughter), and then committed suicide.

Two days later, Cobb, having read news coverage of the murder-suicide, created two fraudulent email addresses – one in Victim 1’s name and the other in Victim 2’s name. Cobb then used Victim 1’s cellphone number and requested that Capital One Bank add him as an authorized user of Victim 1’s credit card. On September 28, 2019, Cobb – using Victim 1’s Capital One Bank credit card in his own name – attempted to withdraw approximately $8,566 from an ATM in Los Angeles.

On October 2, 2019, while at a cellphone store in Alhambra, Cobb impersonated Victim 1 and entered into a sales agreement in Victim 1’s name for a cellphone with Victim 2’s phone number and used Victim 1’s Citibank credit card to make an unauthorized purchase for $124.

Two days later, Cobb called Barclays Bank using Victim 1’s cellphone number and requested that it send a replacement of Victim 1’s Barclays credit card to a post office box in Woodland Hills, which an accomplice had opened in Victim 1’s name after Victim 1’s death. In November 2019, Cobb used a key to open the post office box and took possession of its contents.

In total, Cobb caused losses of approximately $146,139, including approximately $122,488 in losses from unauthorized transfers from Victim 1 and Victim 2’s TD Ameritrade account to purchase gold shipped to addresses in the Los Angeles area.

Cobb also in late October 2019 made approximately $16,450 in unauthorized purchases and attempted ATM cash withdrawals using various credit cards in Victim 1’s name, including purchases in California and Puerto Rico.

Finally, Cobb made approximately $3,200 in unauthorized transfers from Victim 1’s Chase Bank savings account to Victim 1’s Chase Bank checking account to fund an unauthorized check.

“[Cobb’s] predation upon Victims 1 and 2 was not only to plunder the estate of Victims 1 and 2, but was perpetrated upon Victim 4 at the most difficult and complicated moment of her life,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Cobb’s] crimes were grotesque.” 

The United States Secret Service investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys Roger A. Hsieh and Valerie L. Makarewicz of the Major Frauds Section prosecuted this case.

Submitted by Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer U.S. Attorney’s Office