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Life in prison ordered for man who killed Long Beach ID theft victim in Corona

RIVERSIDE — A ripoff artist from Riverside who killed a 21-year-old man in Corona after fraudulently using his personal information in a $600,000 scam was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Dante Danil Carter, a 37-year-old Riverside man, was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait. (Courtesy photo)
A Riverside jury in March convicted 37-year-old Dante Danil Carter of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Eric Burniston of Long Beach.
Along with the murder count, jurors found true a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, and also convicted Carter of 28 other charges, including grand theft, money laundering, forgery and identity theft.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Steven Counelis imposed the required sentence and ordered Carter to pay $548,500 in restitution to the financial institutions that lost money in the defendant’s scam — Digital Federal Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union and USAA Federal Savings Bank.
The judge further ordered him to pay victim restitution to Burniston’s family, in an amount to be determined by the Department of Probation.
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Prosecutors said the defendant’s months-long fraud involved winning the trust of young adults whose credit histories were thin or spotty, offering them an opportunity to invest in his auto loan business as a means of improving their credit records.
Burniston was one of those who fell prey to the scam. When he and three other victims signed on, the defendant turned around and used their identities to acquire credit cards, auto loans and other financial resources for his own personal gain, as well as leasing apartments for his girlfriend, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
When sheriff’s investigators and other law enforcement agencies were alerted to the fraudulent activity and began asking questions, Carter decided to eliminate Burniston, who wanted to be reimbursed for his losses, prosecutors said.
The defendant arranged to meet the victim in the area of Mojeska Summit and Squaw Mountain roads, just south of the Dos Lagos Mall in Corona, to talk about financial restitution. Carter had his personal assistant, a man identified only as “B.C.,” who became a prosecution witness, drive him to the location, where Burniston was waiting in his red Honda Civic about 2 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2016, prosecutors said.
Carter asked Burniston to speak to him behind the Honda, and as the young man reached into his pocket for a lighter to smoke a cigarette, the defendant shot him twice in the head with a 9mm pistol, leaving him dead on the shoulder of the road, according to the D.A.’s office.
Investigators, with the help of eyewitnesses, quickly identified Carter as the shooter, and he was arrested without incident the following day at his five-bedroom home in a gated community of Riverside.

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