Archive for July, 2013

Columbia Man Indicted for Health Fraud, Identity Theft

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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Biz Bits: How to avoid identity theft

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Tip of the Week

Identity theft topped the list of national consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012, for the 13th consecutive year. It accounts for 18 percent of all complaints, up from 15 percent in 2011.

Identity theft can involve taking over your credit account, stealing your tax refund, taking out loans in your name, accessing personal bank accounts or even running up medical bills using your name.

The identity theft experts at Equifax offer some advice:

– When you sign up for a catalog or add your name to a mailing list, consider if the benefit is worth sharing your personal information with someone who could potentially sell it.

– If you sign up for email coupons or loyalty programs, don’t share your full address or any financial information.

– Ensure your passwords used for online banking and shopping sites are strong and unique; use a different password for each site. Mark your calendar to change your passwords every 90 days.

– Request that your medical and insurance providers assign you a unique personal identification number. Don’t reveal medical or insurance information by phone or email unless you made the first contact. File paper and electronic copies of your records in a secure location, and shred any outdated medical documents, including old prescription labels.

– If your passport has been lost or stolen, prevent someone from ordering a new one in your name by contacting the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services Department.

– The IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers through email, text message or social media. If you get a message from a sender that is identified as the IRS, don’t respond or click on any links. Forward the email to

— Brandpoint

BBB Watch

A new scam of automated calls promising a free medical alert system is hitting consumers. The recorded phone messages come from “Emergency Medical Alert Systems,” “Senior Safety Alert,” “Senior Emergency Care” or “Senior Safe Alert” and tell callers that someone has ordered a free system in their name. Consumers should hang up on all calls of this nature and not press any buttons on their telephones.

— Better Business Bureau

The List

Here are the top five colleges on the new Forbes Top Colleges ranking:

1. Stanford University

2. Pomona College

3. Princeton University

4. Yale University

5. Columbia University

Number to Know

38 percent: According to the 2013 American Time Use Survey by the U.S. Department of Labor, 38 percent of Americans age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher performed some work at home on days worked compared to 5 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Tech Talk

Lady Gaga is extending an important industry trend: the release of an app that enhances the album listeners’ experience. This month’s app for her new album “ARTPOP” will combine music, fashion art and technology within an interactive community. Many are expecting to see an explosion in app/album releases, but others see the app as being an unnatural fit into the world of music releases.

— The Street

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Texas man sentenced in Gulfport in identity theft case involving counterfeit …

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

GULFPORT, Mississippi — Mikel Chad Adams, 42, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to serve 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for producing, using, and trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and Allen W. Bryant, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service.

Adams was also ordered to pay $16,526 in restitution to the credit card companies.

Adams was arrested after attempting to use a fraudulent credit card at a gas station in Pass Christian. A search of Adams and his car revealed several sheets of paper listing debit and credit card numbers, as well as sheets of laminate paper.

Some of the laminate paper had account numbers printed on them that matched the account numbers found on the sheets of paper. Adams would affix the laminate with the credit card account numbers to blank credit cards and create the fraudulent cards to make purchases.

The investigation revealed that the account numbers were actual numbers belonging to two major banks. A total of 916 account numbers from the two issuing banks were found, and approximately 638 true account holder victims were identified and notified that their account numbers had been compromised.

Prior to his guilty plea in the counterfeit credit card case, Adams failed to appear as required under the terms and conditions of his bond and was thereafter arrested on a bench warrant. He has since been indicted and pled guilty for failure to appear and is set for sentencing in that case on Aug. 14.

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KC woman gets prison for mail fraud, identity theft

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Autumn MorningSky
Web Producer- Kansas City Business Journal

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A 25-year-old Kansas City woman was convicted in federal court Monday of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Deshonda Anderson had led a scheme to rent apartments and a business office, lease cars and open bank accounts. She was sentenced to five years and six months in federal prison without parole, and ordered to pay her 39 victims just shy of $40,000 in restitution.

Anderson used fake and stolen Social Security numbers, phony pay stubs, and other falsified information to obtain credit lines, bank accounts, apartments, cars and a business office, as well as other goods and cash. She defrauded at least 11 landlords and three car dealerships or leasing agencies.

She presented worthless payments of $669 for office space from Regus Management Group for her company Vixen Kandi Co., which she used to open four bank accounts at MI Bank, causing a loss to the bank of $2,621. Using her child’s Social Security number, she also opened accounts at UMB Bank and five other banks, totaling a loss for those banks of at least $6,523.

Autumn covers retail and creates Web stories and other online content.

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SC opens bidding for identity theft protection contract

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

— At the beginning of July, someone spent $600 at a Michaels craft store in Michigan, using the debit card of a Hartsville attorney.

The only problem?

That attorney never has shopped at a Michaels or been to Michigan. Her identity had been stolen, leading to her bank account being frozen for three weeks until her bank sent her another debit card.

“It was very difficult,” said the attorney, whose name The State newspaper is withholding at her request given her recent identity theft. “I had to get help from my family during that time since I did not have access to my banking account or my savings account.”

Because she used her debit card to pay her state taxes online, the attorney blames the theft of her identity on an international hacker who, last year, stole the personal information of 6.4 million consumers from the S.C. Department of Revenue last year.

In response, the state Budget and Control Board opened up the bidding process Tuesday for a new state contract, worth up to $10 million, to provide identity-theft security to affected consumers past October, when the state’s current security contract with Experian expires.

The contract will provide S.C. taxpayers with credit monitoring, change-of-address monitoring, payday-loan monitoring and “Internet surveillance,” including “scanning black market or underground websites” to detect fraudulent activity. The contract also will give identity-theft insurance to every taxpayer to cover “identity-restoration costs, losses due to identity theft, lost wages and legal fees and expenses” of up to $1 million. The insurance would not have a deductible.

“This … is a continuation to what we did last year, which is making sure the people of South Carolina continue to be protected,” Gov. Nikki Haley said, adding the state also plans to hire a “chief informational security officer.”

After the breach, the state awarded a $12 million emergency contract to Experian, the Ireland-based information services company. That contract will expire in October. This contract, which will be awarded through the state’s procurement office, will be the state’s first competitively bid identity-theft contract.

In addition to the identity-theft insurance, state lawmakers included $200,000 in the state budget to reimburse anyone who can prove they have been a victim of identity theft related to the data breach — a fund sponsored by state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw. The State Treasurer’s Office is working on a procedure to determine the eligibility for the fund. So far, no one has filed a claim, according to Daniel Brennan, a spokesman for Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

The Hartsville attorney said she is looking into filing a claim, but it could be difficult to prove her identity was lost by the state. She has used her debit card online before but said she limits it to PayPal transactions – a company that offers more secure online payment options – and to pay her utility bill.

“It’s really hard to tell if they are a victim of the breach or not,” said Juliana Harris, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs, which is setting up an identity-theft unit to help people navigate their options if they become victims. “Our information is out there in so many different ways, there is no telling how it was compromised.”

READ: Identity Theft protection RFP’h3

SC RFP for identity theft protection by thestate

Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.

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Deerfield woman sentenced in ID theft, tax fraud case – Sun

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

A former patient scheduler at Boca Raton Regional Hospital has been sentenced to a year and half in prison after pleading guilty to stealing the identity of patients and benefiting from fraudulent tax returns.

In addition to the prison term, Shalamar Major, 32, of Deerfield Beach, on Monday was sentenced to three years of probation, and must pay $200 in fines and $15,795 in restitution.

Major pleaded guilty in May to stealing patients’ names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth and passing these on to a friend, Tanisha Wright, 27, who would then file taxes and collect tax returns.

Between January and June 2012, Wright used some of the information provided by Major to file at least 57 fraudulent tax returns, of which the IRS paid 32 for a total of $174,130, court documents show.

The women planned to split the money, which was deposited in stolen reloadable debit cards.

Major was convicted on one count of unauthorized disclosures and one count of conspiracy to commit false claims. She had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail for each count.

Wright, who was sentenced earlier this month, will spend three years and four months in prison, with $174,130 in restitution.

Many of the victims targeted by Wright and Major were elderly patients, prosecutors said.

According to 2012 figures from the Federal Trade Commission, 36 percent of identity theft complaints came from people age 50 and over.

“They seem like easy targets to criminals because they aren’t using their credit actively, often have money in their accounts and aren’t actively getting loans,” said Denise Richarson, an identity theft risk-management specialist based in Hollywood. “When senior citizens find out about these, they also struggle with who to contact and what to do.”

She said people should be vigilant about safeguarding their personal information and also said to file taxes early.

“Be proactive instead of reactive,” she said. “The sooner that you file your taxes, the less time these guys have to file a fraudulent one.”, 954-356-4527 or Twitter @MelhorL

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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

White Water Tavern screens The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain Wednesday night pic

  • White Water Tavern screens “The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain” Wednesday night.

9 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Back in the early fall of 2006, if you cared about the Razorbacks football team or knew anyone who cared about the Razorbacks football team, the name Mitch Mustain was likely a familiar one. Many a Hog fan’s head was filled with visions of touchdown passes, cheering crowds and maybe, eventually, one of those big Waterford crystal footballs and fond future memories of “The Mitch Mustain Era.”

But it didn’t work out that way for the vaunted Springdale quarterback and 2005 USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year. There’s probably no need to rehash all of it at this point, as it’s just a painful memory for fans. So why would you want to see a 90-minute documentary about it?

I’ll defer to Arkansas Expats writer Doc Harper, who caught the movie at this year’s Little Rock Film Fest: “The story involves most of all the worst parts of college sports. The filthiness of recruiting. Coaches pushing their own agendas at the expense of their players. Inappropriately meddlesome boosters. Media and fans twisting teenagers into demigods. Power, corruption, deceit, influence, ambition. It’s all very ‘Game of Thrones,’ with the Broyles Center taking the place of the Iron Throne and everybody forgetting that the point of high-level college football is the crystal football. And no dragons.”

The film, by Matthew Wolfe, was narrated by Nolan Richardson, himself a legendary figure who knows a thing or three about how heated and insane things can get in Hog Country. Loblolly Creamery will be serving booze-y milkshakes at this screening.

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Horicon man gets probation for identity theft

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

JUNEAU – A 26-year-old Horicon man was placed on probation for two years on Monday after being convicted of taking more than $1,000 in checks from his parents.

Andrew M. Zirbel, 804 E. Walnut St., pleaded no contest to identity theft for financial gain.

Judge Steven Bauer ordered two years of probation in the case, with 15 days of conditional jail with Huber and transfer privileges. Bauer ordered Zirbel to pay $1,088.40 in restitution to JP Morgan Chase Bank, submit to random drug screenings, undergo an AODA assessment and follow through with any resulting recommendations, submit a DNA sample and pay court costs.

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Man pleads guilty to tax refund fraud, identity theft, weapons charges – Sun

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

A West Park man pleaded guilty on Friday to identity theft and seeking a fraudulent tax refund among other federal charges, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer announced Monday.

David Joseph, 27, was convicted of filing false claims with the IRS, fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, prosecutors said.

On April 25, agents searched a West Park home where Joseph had stayed and found notebooks, medical printouts, IRS documents, prepaid debit cards, bank statements and other paperwork that contained thousands of names with corresponding Social Security numbers and dates of birth, investigators said.

  • Maps
  • West Park, Fl

A loaded semiautomatic MasterPiece Arms 9 mm pistol with extra ammunition also was discovered. Agents determined it belonged to Joseph, court records stated.

Joseph faces a maximum of five years in prison for the fraudulent tax refund count, two years for the identity theft, and up to 10 years each for the fraud and weapon possession when sentenced Oct. 4, prosecutors said.

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More Arrests Expected in Immigration, Identity-Theft Probe

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

BROOKLYN, N.Y. U.S. Department of Justice officials expect to make more arrests in the immigration-exploitation and identity-theft investigation disclosed in June. While refusing to discuss when or where the arrests would occur, sources close to the case tell CSP Daily News another two dozen convenience store franchisees could face charges in the near future.

Those charges are expected to be filed against one or two defendants at a time, rather than in a dramatic sweep like the one conducted June 17 in New York and Virginia that included the arrest of nine franchisees of 14 7-Eleven stores.

The word comes as some of the original defendants begin negotiating plea deals. According to court documents obtained by CSP Daily News, franchisee Tariq Rana is “engaged in plea negotiations” that could “result in a disposition of this case without trial.”

During court proceedings this past week, according to sources, Rana claimed others taking part in the alleged immigration-exploitation and identity-theft scheme have threatened his family should he implicate others. He claimed his wife and child were taken from his home “as leverage to keep him from talking.”

Rana is one of nine franchisees indicted June 17 in what officials call one of the country’s largest cases of human trafficking. The arrested franchisees–Farrukh Baig, Bushra Baig, Malik Yousaf, Ramon Nanas, Azhar Zia and Ummar Uppal in Long Island, N.Y., and Zahid Baig, Shannawaz Baig and Tariq Rana in eastern Virginia–face multiple charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, concealing and harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and aggravated identity theft. All the defendants remain in custody, having been denied bail.

Soon after the arrests, 7-Eleven Inc., Dallas, said it would conduct a review of franchisees’ immigration records beginning July 1. The retailer has since offered no comment on the case.

Meanwhile, 7-Eleven Inc. has hired Republican lobbying powerhouse Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti to monitor the Washington debate over immigration reform, according to a report by O’Dwyers, which covers the public relations and marketing field. Bruce Mehlman, David Castagnetti and Alex Vogel are spearheading the 11-member lobbying team for the retailer, said the report.

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