Archive for June, 2013

ID theft leads to long, expensive fight

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

TAMPA – West Shore Alliance Executive Director Ron Rotella says he keeps a tight reign on his personal information. But it wasn’t enough.

Off and on for the last year, Rotella says he and his accountant worked with the IRS to clear his name.  Yet, his saga continues.

The IRS rejected his 2011 return, and now they’ve notified the Tampa businessman that there is more trouble with the one he filed for 2012.  So far, it has cost him time and hundreds of dollars in fees paid to his CPA.

The victim suspects it is no coincidence that a thief swiped his identity about the time a prostate cancer diagnosis sent him to multiple new doctor’s offices in 2011, all of whom demanded his social security number.

Law enforcement advises withholding your social security number in every instance, but be warned:  Some medical facilities won’t bill your insurance company without that number, forcing you to pay the bill in full at the doctor’s office.

Old papers with personal information are another of the most popular ways thieves get their hands on your identity.

Now we are taking action for your identity.

You can bring your paper documents to Westfield Citrus Park Mall, this Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

It’s a limit of five boxes per vehicle, and again, paper documents only. And its all free.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/money/consumer/taking_action_for_you/id-theft-leads-to-long-expensive-fight

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Soldier pleads guilty to Paul Allen identity theft

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

PITTSBURGH  — An American soldier from Pittsburgh has pleaded guilty to FBI charges that he illegally obtained a credit card using the identity of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and tried to use it to make purchases and access cash in western Pennsylvania.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brandon Lee Price pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of bank fraud. He is free on bond and will be sentenced Sept. 30.

Price also faces desertion charges because he was missing from his post in Louisiana when he was arrested last year.

It’s not immediately clear what happened in the military’s case against Price, but federal criminal court records show he was recently locked down in a psychiatric unit of a Veterans Affairs hospital. That’s why a change of plea hearing scheduled last month was postponed until Thursday.

Article source: http://www.king5.com/news/crime/Solider-pleads-guilty-to-Paul-Allen-identity-theft-213313081.html

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Jimmy Rodefer : Don ‘ t become a victim of tax identity theft

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Filing tax returns for most people doesn’t rank with going on vacation or winning the lottery. Thus, when the Internal Revenue Service says it received a second tax return with your information, it’s obviously not because you enjoyed the process so much you filed again.

What’s happened is that you’ve become the victim of tax identity theft.

You can now count tax identity theft among our world’s ever-growing personal security concerns. The IRS on its website has a lengthy section reporting legal actions resulting from tax identity theft. Here are two examples straight from its website:

“Florida Man Sentenced in $12 Million Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme: On June 5, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Jesus Calvo was sentenced to 58 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9.2 million in restitution to the IRS for his role in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. In addition, Calvo agreed to forfeit two houses, five cars, three bank accounts, high-end watches, jewelry and cash.”

“Alabama Man Sentenced for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud: On April 24, 2013, in Montgomery, Ala., Kenneth Jerome Blackmon Jr. was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $197,839 in restitution. Blackmon pleaded guilty in January 2013 to aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. According to court documents, Blackmon used stolen identities to file false federal income tax returns with the IRS.”

Tax identity theft causes many problems for its victims. For example, when the IRS suspects identity theft, it delays refunds for lengthy periods as officials try to sort out who did what to whom, and when.

It’s a mess. And it’s getting worse.

One popular and persistent strategy employed by thieves to steal tax identities is to send threatening emails purportedly from the IRS. These emails typically say dire consequences are in store unless the recipient clicks on a link in the email — which captures their information.

Another frequent, and smellier, tactic is to hunt in garbage cans for confidential information.

Actually, there are multiple methods thieves can use to hack, steal or copy your vital information. Nevertheless, there are ways to protect yourself against tax identity theft:

Never click on a link or an email attachment claiming to be from the IRS — the IRS doesn’t send emails on these subjects. Instead, forward the suspicious email to your tax adviser or, if you don’t have one, the IRS.

Shred your financial information.

Use firewalls and intrusion protection on your home computer if it contains your personal financial information.

Don’t give out your Social Security number unless it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t hand it over just because someone asks for it.

File tax returns as early as you can.

Accounting firms are seeing more and more examples of attempted — or successful — tax identity theft. It’s in your interest to research the subject and consult your tax adviser.

As they told us in school, the only bad question is one you don’t ask. Not knowing about tax identity theft can be a life-changing experience. And not in a good way.

Article source: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/29/jimmy-rodefer-dont-become-a-victim-of-tax-theft/

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Local man sentence for role in ID theft ring

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — A Stillwater man was one of four persons sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul for their roles in a large, multi-state identity theft ring.

Twenty-five-year-old Derek Charles Estell was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson after Estell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Also sentenced by Magnuson Thursday were 27-year-old Donyea Terrell Collins of Richfield, to 55 months in prison, and 44-year-old Kelly Jenelle Scott, no known address, to 46 months in prison. Collins and Scott also pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Magnuson also sentenced 30-year-old Lee Vang of St. Paul to 30 months in prison on one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft. Vang had previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

The four sentenced Thursday, along with more than 100 other people, were involved in a conspiracy from 2006 through December 2011 to defraud banks, bank customers and businesses, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones’ office.

Persons involved in the scheme used victim information to create counterfeit checks and fake Ids to fraudulently purchase items at stores, then return them for cash, and at banks, where conspirators posed as customers and withdrew money from victims’ accounts, the statement said.

Investigators uncovered evidence that the conspirators conducted fraudulent transactions throughout Minnesota and in at least 13 other states, the statement added.

Victim information was obtained by the ring from multiple sources, including from persons who stole information from their places of work; from employees at area banks; from stolen mail, and break-ins of vehicles and businesses, the statement said.

Following the sentencings, case investigators praised the collaboration of numerous law enforcement agencies involved in the case.

“This investigation came together as a result of the partnerships between agencies and the extraordinary efforts of all involved,” said Patrick Henry, head of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force. “The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force led this investigation, but it is an example of successful collaboration of local, state and federal criminal justice agencies.”

“These individuals caused immeasurable hardship to innocent victims,” added Kelly R. Jackson, special agent-in-charge of the IRS Criminal Investigations St. Paul field office.

Since mid-June, several other defendants in the case have been sentenced, with their prison time ranging from time served to 43 months, the statement said.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also investigated the case along with the task force and IRS. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen B. Schommer and Michelle E. Jones prosecuted the cases.

Jones’ office said the case is a reminder for people to protect themselves from identity theft. Several government web sites offer identity theft-prevention information. They include www.stopfraud.gov/protect-identity.html; http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/IdentityTheft.aspx, and the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft at www.irs.gov.

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Article source: http://stillwatergazette.com/2013/06/28/local-man-sentence-for-role-in-id-theft-ring/

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Changes in investigating identity theft

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

On June 25, 2013, Topeka Police were called to Michaels Communications at 542 NW U.S. 24 highway on a past theft of over $2,000 worth of copper phone cable.

Article source: http://www.kansasfirstnews.com/2013/06/28/changes-in-investigating-identity-theft/

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Solider pleads guilty to Paul Allen identity theft

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

PITTSBURGH  — An American soldier from Pittsburgh has pleaded guilty to FBI charges that he illegally obtained a credit card using the identity of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and tried to use it to make purchases and access cash in western Pennsylvania.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brandon Lee Price pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of bank fraud. He is free on bond and will be sentenced Sept. 30.

Price also faces desertion charges because he was missing from his post in Louisiana when he was arrested last year.

It’s not immediately clear what happened in the military’s case against Price, but federal criminal court records show he was recently locked down in a psychiatric unit of a Veterans Affairs hospital. That’s why a change of plea hearing scheduled last month was postponed until Thursday.

Article source: http://www.king5.com/news/local/Solider-pleads-guilty-to-Paul-Allen-identity-theft-213313081.html

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Identity Theft – Technologies, Risks, and Responsibilities

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

While providing a brief background on Identity Theft, the focus of this one-hour web seminar is on the impact of new technologies, the associated risks, and banks’ responsibilities. It also discusses a brief example of how a bank offered an Identity Theft product as a service to its customers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define the basic characteristics of Identity Theft, history, types, trends.
  • Why is this an issue for banks and their customers?
  • What are four relevant technologies and associated risks?
  • Describe the related actions to mitigate damage.
  • What are banks’ role and responsibilities, where do they end and customers’ begin?
  • Example – Bank’s experience offering a partner’s financial service to its’ customers

Course Instructor:
Al Eng, CitiGroup
– former senior executive for almost 30 years at CitiGroup, Al has a strong track record in identifying and growing successful new banking and investment businesses. His career includes extensive experience in strategy, innovation and product development, and marketing.

Article source: http://www.americanbanker.com/webseminars/-1059932-1.html

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Operation Shredding to protect identity theft

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The stormy weather didn’t keep hundreds of people from coming out to WPTV’s Operation Shredding on Thursday.

Eunice Twiggs owns a business and knows the importance of protecting your identity. While she has never had her identity stolen, she didn’t want to start now.

“We try our best to keep everything as private as possible and this is a very good way to keep it private, shred it!,” she said.

Edward Umberger also waited in line to shred his documents,

“I have my old tax documents here, I have to make sure that nobody gets anything. You can’t put it into the trash because somebody will get it,” he said.

He knows all too well what identity theft is. “I was told by my bank that somebody stole my ID.”

He’s not alone, in fact Florida ranks number one in identity theft. That’s why it’s so important to shred all your documents.

Inside the shred-mobile, the yellow bins full of documents were dumped into a chamber while a rotating axle grinded away at the papers, shredding them to bits and pieces.

When the trucks were full, they were taken by the Solid Waste Authority for recycling.

“Folks are having their identities protected by the shred, it also being recycled so they’re protecting their identity and helping the environment and it’s a great service,” said Susan Chapman of the Solid Waste Authority.

At Operation Shredding, set up at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, more than 90,000 pounds of paper were shredded. And more than 500 recycling bins were handed out.

For those who waited in line, it was worth every penny.

Ed says, “I don’t keep a lot of money so I can’t lose a lot but I hate to lose any.”

 

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/operation-shredding-to-protect-identity-theft

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Ex-soldier pleads guilty to ID theft of Microsoft co-founder

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

PITTSBURGH — A man AWOL from his Army post in Louisiana used a computer at a job center in Pittsburgh to obtain a debit card in the name of billionaire Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, and attempted to access more than $1.6 million, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.

Brandon Lee Price, 30, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud and must return for sentencing Sept. 30.

Most of the transactions Price attempted did not go through, as they were flagged as suspicious by Citibank, which issued the card. But Price was able to pay $658.81 toward a delinquent Armed Forces Bank loan last year, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Wilson said.

“This case with this high-profile victims calls attention to the seriousness of the crime of identity theft,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Citibank spokesman Andrew Brent said that the “security of our customers’ accounts is our top priority” and that measures are in place to protect them.

Price had left his unit without permission at Fort Polk, La., in July 2010 and wasn’t found until the FBI arrested him in Pittsburgh in March 2012. Fort Polk officials did not immediately return a call, but Wilson said after Thursday’s hearing that Price has since been court-martialed and discharged.

In order for Price to plead guilty, Wilson had to detail the evidence for the judge, explaining the scam began when Price called Citibank in late December 2011 and pretended to be Allen.

Price told a customer service representative “he was attempting to do online banking and needed his debit card number” but didn’t have it handy, Wilson said.

Price was able to give the rep the last four digits of Allen’s Social Security number, the last two digits of a debit card account and the entire number for one of Allen’s checking accounts. Despite that, Citibank didn’t give Price the account number he sought, though he did get the number two days later when he called Citibank back and provided additional personal information about Allen.

Price then changed the address on Allen’s account to Price’s home address in Pittsburgh and claiming the card was lost, Citibank sent a replacement to Price’s home.

Price first used the card to make the delinquent loan payment, then attempted several transactions that didn’t go through, including a $1 purchase at a dollar store near his home.

Price also tried to use the card to make three transfers — of $94,000, $800,000 and $130,000 — to accounts he controlled. He also unsuccessfully tried to open an investment account with a $388,000 funds transfer and to purchase $250,000 in certificates of deposit, Wilson said.

FBI agents later determined Price logged onto publicly available computers at a local job center, where he searched for topics including “identity theft,” “brokerage accounts” and “Paul G. Allen.” Wilson said he doesn’t know why the billionaire was targeted.

Both Price and his federal public defender declined to comment.

Bank fraud carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, but Price’s case will be governed by guidelines dictated by the amount stolen. The government argues the “loss” is the $1.6 million Price tried to steal, but his attorney contends it’s merely the $658.81 he actually siphoned from Allen’s account.

Article source: http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130627/NEWS06/306270010/Soldier-change-plea-Microsoft-identity-theft

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Murder, identity theft, and robbery charges face Ryan Hicks in death of David …

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Murder, identity theft, robbery and tampering with evidence charges are now filed against a Lakewood resident accused of killing his roommate.

Ryan Boyd Hicks is being held without bond in connection with the death of his roommate, David Noren.

Noren disappeared May 21. His body was found June 7 along Fall River Road in Clear Creek County.

According to a tweet from District Attorney Peter Weir, Hicks is being charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated motor vehicle theft, tampering with evidence, two counts of murder and five counts of identity theft. The next court date in this case will be July 12.

Authorities have not released details about how Noren died and court documents pertaining to the case are sealed. Before the discovery of Noren’s body, police had told 7NEWS there was evidence of foul play inside the house the two men temporarily shared.

Noren moved to Lakewood three months ago to operate the machines at BCT Wholesale Printing. He’d worked for the same company in New Mexico and Arizona for 23 years.

Family members told 7NEWS that Noren sold his house in Arizona and was temporarily living with a roommate that he’d found on Craigslist while looking for a new house in Colorado.

They say David never mentioned anything about problems with his roommate and that police told them money was withdrawn from Noren’s account the day he was reported missing.

Police say Hicks took off to Arizona shortly after Noren disappeared and was arrested in Safford after allegedly breaking into his father’s house.

It’s not the first time Hicks has been in trouble with the law.

Court records indicate that Hicks was charged with attempted first degree murder in April 2005 for throwing a man off the stairwell. Later that same month, in a separate case, he was charged with assault and attempted abortion following an attack on his pregnant girlfriend.

He pleaded guilty to second degree assault for throwing the man off the stairwell. In the domestic case, the jury found him guilty of third degree assault.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/murder-identity-theft-and-robbery-charges-face-ryan-hicks-in-death-of-david-noren

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