Archive for November, 2014

Integrity of MCSO ID-theft case challenged in court

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

An ID-theft case involving a Phoenix restaurateur will receive a special hearing after the Arizona Court of Appeals this week found that search warrants obtained by Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives were issued based upon false statements and omitted information.

The January arrests of Uncle Sam’s owner Bret Frimmel and manager Lisa Norton marked the first time employers, rather than employees, had been taken into custody based on charges stemming from an investigation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Criminal Employment Squad.

But defense attorneys say a sheriff’s detective misled a judge when applying for a search warrant. He failed to mention, for example, that the two informants — former Uncle Sam’s employees — were married, and that one had been convicted of embezzling from the restaurant.

“Here, Frimmel has made a substantial preliminary showing of numerous false statements, misrepresentations and/or material omissions contained within the affidavits submitted in support of the warrants that could have affected the magistrate’s evaluation of probable cause,” the Court of Appeals opinion reads.

Defense attorney Paul Charlton said the evidence collected through the search warrants could be thrown out should the hearing turn in Frimmel and Norton’s favor.

“That would mean that the next best decision would be for the state to dismiss this case,” he said.

A trial is scheduled in Maricopa County Superior Court for March.

Frimmel had asked the Court of Appeals for what’s known as a Franks hearing: to have a court review the integrity of a law-enforcement officer’s affidavit.

He had previously asked the same of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanders, but was denied.

Maricopa County prosecutors asked Sanders to deny the hearing, arguing that innocent mistakes did not warrant a Franks violation.

“The statements made by the affiant are not false, were not made as deliberate falsehoods or made with reckless disregard for the truth,” prosecutors stated in their response.

Further, the document read, the information provided by the informants to the detective proved to be fruitful, and the detective had “no reason to doubt the veracity of their statements.”

Prosecutors did not argue or address Frimmel’s allegations in his appeal, only arguing that the Appeals Court did not have jurisdiction.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to comment about the pending case.

The sheriff’s Criminal Employment Squad conducted raids at Uncle Sam’s Phoenix and Peoria locations in July 2013, arresting nine employees on charges related to forgery and identity theft.

Sheriff’s officials said several of those employees turned on Frimmel, leading to his January arrest.

The Criminal Employment Squad purportedly targets both ID thieves and those who knowingly hire them, but only a handful of employers have been arrested since 2008, compared with about 800 lower-level workers.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/11/27/mcso-id-theft-case-integrity-challenged-court/19603935/

Technorati Tags: ,

Conshohocken man draws probation for identity theft

Saturday, November 29th, 2014



COURTHOUSE A Conshohocken man was given probation on Wednesday after admitting to bilking TD bank out of over $2,000 by creating several bank accounts in his name and his father’s name, depositing checks into the accounts and withdrawing money before the checks could bounce.

Steven Michael Miller, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft and was sentenced to five years of probation on Wednesday. Additionally he was ordered to pay a $200 fine and $2,055 in restitution. Miller was also ordered to complete 60 hours of community service.

In March 2012, a detective with the Plymouth Township Police Department was contacted by an investigator with TD Bank and was told that a man from Conshohocken opened different bank accounts under different names which resulted in a loss of money for the bank.

The investigator told police that in 2008, Miller opened a bank account at the Conshohocken TD Bank under the name Stephen Smith. He reported that between March 13, 2009 and March 16, 2009 two non-TD Bank checks were deposited into the account. Before the checks could be returned, money was withdrawn from an ATM resulting in a loss to the bank of $690.98.

According to the arresting affidavit, between Dec. 28, 2011 and March 21, 2012, Miller created nine different bank accounts.

With each bank account, police determined that Miller would deposit checks into an account and take money out of the account before the checks could be returned for bouncing.

Investigators found that on Feb. 1, Miller opened an account in his father’s name. His father later told police that on the day the account was opened, he was in the hospital and did not create an account with TD Bank.

On March, 29, investigators went to speak with Miller and his mother told them he wasn’t home. Police noted a white Chevrolet Geo Tracker. Miller’s mother said that was her car but that her son sometimes drives it.

Surveillance footage of Miller showed that he was driving the Chevrolet when taking money out of the ATM. Police also caught Miller driving a second car during some of the transactions.

Article source: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141128/conshohocken-man-draws-probation-for-identity-theft

Technorati Tags: ,

Watch out for I.D. theft this holiday season

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

The holiday season represents time spent with loved ones and frantic holiday shopping. Unfortunately, it also presents the perfect opportunity for identity thieves to work overtime.

Last year, customers of several national retailers found themselves at risk of identity theft when credit and debit card information was stolen, and PayPal and eBay also have been hacked.

We are also dealing with insidious, ever-increasing instances of cyberterrorism from around the globe.

A few months ago, JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions were breached by hackers who are believed to have ties with the Russian government. And in October, Congress was notified that the U.S. Postal Service was hacked and employee information was compromised.

The Washington Post has cited anonymous sources who believe China may have been involved in that cyberattack.

Every day, it seems, there is a new data breach incident, and consumers may feel helpless to protect themselves.

It is imperative that companies beef up security and protect the personal information of their customers. And the U.S. government must bear down on organizations and require them to tighten Internet security. For that matter, the U.S. government must tighten up its own security.

Furthermore, Congress must pass broader, stricter cybersecurity legislation and increase penalties for those caught engaging in such acts.

There are also ways we, as consumers, can be diligent and protect ourselves. That includes monitoring your accounts and paying close attention to your bank and credit card statements.

Consider investing in an identity theft monitoring service. These services will track large purchases, suspicious activities and new accounts opened in your name.

As for how to deal with nosy foreign governments, well that’s another story entirely. Outrageously, Chinese government hackers are suspected of breaching the computer networks of the Postal Service, compromising the data of more than 800,000 employees — including the postmaster general’s.

The intrusion was discovered in mid-September. The FBI is leading the investigation into the hack and, if the allegation proves true, the United States must respond to China with trade or some other type of sanctions.

Neither the American people nor the government should tolerate this kind of behavior.

Article source: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/editorials/2014/11/28/editorial-identity-theft/19632289/

Technorati Tags: ,

‘Identity theft’ in the AIDS-free generation

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Don’t let the importance of education and prevention efforts get buried amid science and technology

Kirk MyersThe theme for World AIDS Day 2014 — “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation” — is much more than rhetoric. Since the inception of World AIDS Day in 1987, Dec. 1 has offered all people a simple promise: We not only will survive the global onslaught of HIV and AIDS, but together we will stop it!

Focusing on leveraging available resources and then collaborating with the most unlikely of partners, realistically we are poised to achieve our quintessential hope: an AIDS-free generation.

But even as this dream becomes reality, I harbor a faint amount of cynicism. Let me explain.

History teaches us that those who would conspire to destroy humanity’s potential often do so through means that can have unimaginable consequences. Think of the trans-Atlantic slave trade or Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The word we most often hear in reference to these periods of history is “genocide.”

But, the descendants of enslaved Africans and the survivors of the Holocaust have refused to fade into obscurity. Their resilience and determination are seen around the world, as their response to genocide has been harnessing a shared power to prevent any reoccurrences. In doing so they not only honor their ancestors but also ensure that the ultimate defeat of genocide must be — has to be — will always be the human effort to prevent it.

My faint cynicism comes in when I contemplate how the “AIDS-free generation” will record the story of how the HIV/AIDS pandemic was eventually defeated. My faint cynicism exists because I intentionally fight on the side of HIV prevention. But, in this fight, HIV prevention has not been the most sensational weapon, the most well-funded weapon or the most star-studded weapon.

Truth be told, we who have insisted on HIV prevention as the first and best weapon against HIV/AIDS could become victims of what I see as “identity theft.”

Abounding Prosperity Inc. since 2005 has been on the front lines of the fight in Dallas. And as the founding CEO, I would be disingenuous if I did not question how our message of HIV prevention will be recorded in history. Once we have “an AIDS-free generation,” who will speak on behalf of HIV prevention? Will anyone remember the HIV prevention message? Who will remind the children born in AIDS-free Africa, AIDS-free China, or AIDS-free Texas of their benefactor?

And who will be responsible for teaching the AIDS-free generation about not only their benefactors, but just as important, their bonds to the more than 36 million people worldwide that AIDS has killed, and the estimated 35.3 million people around the globe (including myself) who have resolved to live — abounding and prospering — even with HIV?

As a person who has been living with HIV for the past two decades, the cynical tempering of my own belief in an AIDS-free generation is warranted. From the ever-developing fields of science, technology and medicine, we are experiencing such breakthroughs that it is finally possible to envision our world completely free of HIV/AIDS.

But please do not misunderstand my reticent cynicism as professional aggrandizement in regards to those of us toiling in HIV prevention.

Rather, as I sit here writing, I look out the windows of my agency and see our target population: young, black gay men so hungry for not just love, but also connection and belonging. Abounding Prosperity Inc. was founded to sustain them, sustain us — black gay men who, just like myself, are neither invisible nor insignificant as our agency’s focus on HIV prevention especially targets  our extremely vulnerable and overrepresented demographic in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

By God’s grace, Abounding Prosperity Inc. remains a shining thread of hope that daily decries the genocide of HIV/AIDS on behalf of all humanity, but especially those who identify as black gay men. AP Inc., has never (and will never) re-brand our message or re-think our focus. Even if no one else delivers the HIV prevention message to black gay men, AP Inc. definitely will continue to do so, making sure HIV prevention gets her just due. Because HIV prevention is our agency’s business and the precise reason why so many young, black gay men in Dallas can now live out in the open, accepted, affirmed and AIDS-free.

This December, let us all proudly proclaim the HIV prevention message to ensure that neither the message nor its messengers fall victim to identity theft when the annals of HIV/AIDS history are written.

Kirk D. Myers is the founding and current CEO of Abounding Prosperit, Inc. where he and his staff serve African-American gay men, bi-sexual men and transgender male-to-female individuals as well as all their families. If you would like to support this mission and join in the work of­­ AP, Inc., please call 214-421-4800, visit the agency’s website at AboundingProsperity.org or email kmyers@aboundingprosperity.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 28, 2014.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

<!–

Dallasvoice

–>

Article source: http://www.dallasvoice.com/identity-theft-aids-free-generation-10185505.html

Technorati Tags: ,

As Holiday Shopping Begins, Experts Warn Consumers Should Be On Guard …

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Don’t Miss This

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the holiday shopping season gets under way, experts are warning consumers to beware of scams and identity theft.

With the best deals and bargains can come big worries, especially when it comes to shopping online.

“They see these incredible deals on high-end electronics that they can’t find in the stores at incredible prices,” said Northeastern California Better Business Bureau president Gary Almond.

He says that crooks are getting savvy, targeting consumers online. Hot deals are the easiest way to an unsuspecting victim’s wallet and information.

“The big thing is that people shop at sites that are not real,” he said.

He recommends studying up on sites and looking to see if you have a secure connection. The URL should begin with HTTPS instead of just HTTP.

Shoppers say they’re aware of the scams and have taken their own precautions including using credit cards or cash whenever possible over debit cards, and monitoring your accounts.

If you’re worried about a data breach like the one that hit Target last holiday season, Almond says there’s not much you can do about that.

“Even the company itself is a victim of targeted effort,” he said.

But he says stores are taking steps to make sure what happened last year doesn’t happen again.

“A lot of beefed up network security and doing consumer awareness so people don’t misuse their credit card information,” he said.

Article source: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/11/27/as-holiday-shopping-begins-experts-warn-consumers-should-be-on-guard-for-identity-theft/

Technorati Tags: ,

Canton couple victims of identity theft

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Identity theft

A Canton couple notified police after it became apparent they had become victims of identity theft, a police report said.

A 68-year-old man told police Friday he had received a call from a bank fraud department asking about some charges he hadn’t made or authorized on an account. He said he was able to cancel the fraudulent charges.

The man said he also was advised that his wife’s name was used to open a furniture store account. He said items purchased fraudulently had apparently been delivered to an address in Hamtramck.

The man, according to a police report, contacted authorities about the incidents after he was encouraged by a credit card company to do so.

Sprinkler box vandalism

Police went to a residential area near Grandover Court and Lilley following reports someone had tampered with a sprinkler system box, causing water to flow over Grandover.

Police were summoned to the neighborhood shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday for what was initially reported as a possible ruptured water line. Turns out someone had taken a backflow preventer from the sprinkler system box, causing the spillage.

Neighborhood residents said it wasn’t the first time such an incident had occurred.

Bad blood

A 36-year-old Canton woman told police she was being harassed by a former boyfriend and his new girlfriend, leading to lewd messages and prompting her to change her phone number, a police report said.

The victim told police she had dated a 37-year-old Canton man about six months when she learned he had been cheating on her with the other woman, 26, from Highland. She said the other woman began sending lewd messages to her on Facebook, prompting her to respond in kind, a police report indicated.

The victim told police she blocked the other woman on Facebook, but then started getting calls at work. A police report also indicated the victim and her ex-boyfriend had exchanged text messages, including lewd comments.

The victim said the ex-boyfriend began contacting her by email after she changed her phone number. She notified police because she said she wanted all communication from the former boyfriend and his new girlfriend to stop, though she didn’t yet want to prosecute.

The victim also was advised how to get a personal protection order.

– By Darrell Clem

Article source: http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/canton/2014/11/27/canton-michigan-police-briefs/70090060/

Technorati Tags: ,

Integrity of MCSO ID-theft case challenged

Friday, November 28th, 2014

An ID-theft case involving a Phoenix restaurateur will receive a special hearing after the Arizona Court of Appeals this week found that search warrants obtained by Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives were issued based upon false statements and omitted information.

The January arrests of Uncle Sam’s owner Bret Frimmel and manager Lisa Norton marked the first time employers, rather than employees, had been taken into custody based on charges stemming from an investigation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Criminal Employment Squad.

But defense attorneys say a sheriff’s detective misled a judge when applying for a search warrant. He failed to mention, for example, that the two informants — former Uncle Sam’s employees — were married, and that one had been convicted of embezzling from the restaurant.

“Here, Frimmel has made a substantial preliminary showing of numerous false statements, misrepresentations and/or material omissions contained within the affidavits submitted in support of the warrants that could have affected the magistrate’s evaluation of probable cause,” the Court of Appeals opinion reads.

Defense attorney Paul Charlton said the evidence collected through the search warrants could be thrown out should the hearing turn in Frimmel and Norton’s favor.

“That would mean that the next best decision would be for the state to dismiss this case,” he said.

A trial is scheduled in Maricopa County Superior Court for March.

Frimmel had asked the Court of Appeals for what’s known as a Franks hearing: to have a court review the integrity of a law-enforcement officer’s affidavit.

He had previously asked the same of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanders, but was denied.

Maricopa County prosecutors asked Sanders to deny the hearing, arguing that innocent mistakes did not warrant a Franks violation.

“The statements made by the affiant are not false, were not made as deliberate falsehoods or made with reckless disregard for the truth,” prosecutors stated in their response.

Further, the document read, the information provided by the informants to the detective proved to be fruitful, and the detective had “no reason to doubt the veracity of their statements.”

Prosecutors did not argue or address Frimmel’s allegations in his appeal, only arguing that the Appeals Court did not have jurisdiction.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to comment about the pending case.

The sheriff’s Criminal Employment Squad conducted raids at Uncle Sam’s Phoenix and Peoria locations in July 2013, arresting nine employees on charges related to forgery and identity theft.

Sheriff’s officials said several of those employees turned on Frimmel, leading to his January arrest.

The Criminal Employment Squad purportedly targets both ID thieves and those who knowingly hire them, but only a handful of employers have been arrested since 2008, compared with about 800 lower-level workers.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/11/27/mcso-id-theft-case-integrity-challenged-court/19603935/

Technorati Tags: ,

Fraud, ID theft seminar Dec. 3

Friday, November 28th, 2014

CANON CITY — Police and local banks plan to provide a free Fraud and Identity Theft Educational Seminar for local residents from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3 at Evangelical Free Church, 3000 E. Main St.


Coffee, doughnuts and juice will be served starting at 8:30 a.m. Topics will focus on local issues and how to protect against them. To register, call 719-276-5600, ext. 3917.

Walk-ins on the day of the seminar also are welcome.

— Compiled by Tracy Harmon

Article source: http://www.chieftain.com/news/3104024-120/local-seminar-dec-fraud

Technorati Tags: ,

Woman charged for identity theft, drug conspiracy

Friday, November 28th, 2014

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) –
A tax preparer working in Kannapolis has now been jailed on charges of identity theft and drug conspiracy.

On Wednesday, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Kannapolis Police Department, arrested Sherry Ann (Shinn) Carrillo, age 35, following an investigation that began two months ago.

In September, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office received information that Carrillo was involved with others in a conspiracy to manufacture and pass fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances, including Lortab (hydrocodone), Xanax (alprazolam), Concerta (methylphenidate), and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate).  

Investigators with both departments were able to determine that a number of fraudulent prescriptions had been presented and filled, or attempted to be filled at pharmacies in Rowan, Cabarrus and Iredell counties, according to a press release.

Carrillo was arrested at her business, Quick Tax Unlimited, 2014 West C Street in Kannapolis  

At the time of Carrillo’s arrest, investigators executed search warrants at the business, as well as Carrillo’s residence, 2650 Wyoming Drive, also in Kannapolis.  Investigators seized evidence connected to the illegal production of prescriptions for controlled substances, United States currency, computers, a small amount of Vyvanse and other evidence.  

Carrillo was charged with one count of trafficking in identity theft, one count of conspiracy to traffitrafficium/heroin, and one count of possess a controlled substance.  Bond was set at $100,000.  The investigation is ongoing and other arrests are anticipated, according to the sheriff.

Article source: http://www.wbtv.com/story/27490984/woman-charged-for-identity-theft-drug-conspiracy

Technorati Tags: ,

I Ate Thanksgiving Dinner With My Identity Thief for 19 Years

Friday, November 28th, 2014

PHOTO: What its like to eat Thanksgiving dinner with your identity thief for 19 years.

Nineteen a minute: That’s how quickly people become identity theft victims in the U.S. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 10 and 16 million Americans are defrauded each year in this way. Thanksgiving can be an awkward time of year for some victims, since family members account for more than 30 percent of the identity thieves.

Axton Betz-Hamilton knows this firsthand. Raised in a middle-class home—her mother Pamela was a tax preparer, her dad a department manager for a grocery store—her identity theft story is both a family affair and exponentially stranger than fiction.

“We lived on hobby farms—one in Portland, Ind., and then another in Redkey,” Betz-Hamilton told me. Thanksgivings were with family. Her paternal grandfather moved in during the ‘90s. (He had been a welder at a tractor factory.) Together, they were a small family unit that looked like many others, though in reality they were ensnared in a mindboggling circle of financial fraud.

“Nineteen Thanksgivings came and went, and [my mother] cooked those dinners for us—me and dad and my grandfather after he moved in in 1995. We were getting robbed by the hand that fed us the entire time,” she said.

More From Credit.com: How to Use Free Credit Monitoring Tools

The Damage

Betz-Hamilton’s identity theft story spans 20 years, starting in 1993. The charges on credit cards that were acquired using her Social Security number amounted to about $4,000, but the damage rippled out, impacting every aspect of her financial life.

Betz-Hamilton first discovered that she had been victimized when, as a 19-year-old college student, she was moving off-campus, and the utility company asked for a $100 deposit. The reason: bad credit. She ordered a copy of her credit report (while important for everyone, this is a crucial step for anyone who has been a victim of identity theft). She assumed there would be a one-pager featuring a couple student loans. Instead, a large manila envelope arrived. She then contacted the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of identity theft. They told her to file a police report. She did that, and waited as nothing happened.

When she disputed the accounts with one of the credit card companies, she was told that her story did not hold up. “There had been two payments before the account was maxed out.” This was earlier in the evolution of identity theft, so all the various tactics were still unknown, but it is not uncommon for an identity theft to try to extend the value of a target by making things appear to be as normal as possible.

More From Credit.com: The Signs Your Identity Has Been Stolen

“My credit report was 10 pages long, and my credit score was 380,” she said.

The consequences Betz-Hamilton faced will be familiar to anyone who has ever struggled with a bad credit history. “I had to pay higher interest rates for my car loan and the credit cards I legitimately obtained. My first car loan was 18.23 percent and my first credit card had a 29.9 percent APR. I’ve had to pay deposits for electric, phone and cable. I had to pay higher insurance rates through 2009.”

The lifetime cost of identity theft is staggering, since bad credit can impact so many pieces of your financial life, as Betz-Hamilton discovered.

Anatomy of Family Fraud

In 1993, Betz-Hamilton’s parents were victims of identity theft. When she found out that her identity had been stolen, the most logical assumption was that whoever had stolen her parents’ identities had stolen hers as well. Another 18% of identity theft victims are defrauded by friends, neighbors and in-house employees. It took 20 years and a fluke discovery for her to learn the truth.

Pamela Betz died of cancer in 2013, and the details of her secret life emerged. She had stolen her daughter’s identity. She had stolen her husband’s identity. She compromised her father-in-law for around $1,500. And of course she herself had mountains of debt.

Betz-Hamilton’s father made the discovery after finding a blue plastic file-box in one of the outbuildings on their farm. Inside, there was a 12-year-old credit card statement. The account was in his daughter Axton’s name. It was overdue, and so he called his daughter to give her a hard time about this hidden bit of past ignominy. She told him the card never existed. Upon closer inspection, the account had a card in his wife’s name.

The 20-year fraud began to unravel.

More From Credit.com: What to Do If You’re a Victim of Identity Theft

“She had a lot of purses and backpacks, and that’s where she stored the paper trail,” Betz-Hamilton recalled. “It was also between dresser drawers. Papers were folded and shoved into books. We didn’t know my grandfather’s identity had been stolen until I found a credit card statement in one of those purses, and I still don’t know how far back that goes.”

Questions arose. Was there another house somewhere, cars or perhaps another life? On her deathbed, an alarm rose when Betz-Hamilton’s father noticed that his wife’s wedding ring was missing.

“We think she pawned it,” Betz-Hamilton told me. “I have no idea what she was up to. Maybe she had a second life. She had been using multiple names. I’m still looking.”

Dr. Axton Betz-Hamilton is now a professor at Eastern Illinois University where she teaches courses on personal finance and consumer issues. She wrote her Ph.D dissertation on child identity theft; how people experience it, looking specifically at victims under the age of 18 who learn about their situation later in life.

“My mother’s last wishes were to be cremated, and we respected that. She wanted her ashes to be with me. I’m sitting next to my mother right now,” she told me over the phone.

“Sometimes I yell at her. And sometimes I shake the box she’s in. We just don’t know who mom was. It’s hard to grieve for her. To change things up and start new traditions, I had Christmas at my house last year. Mom was here on the shelf. It was awkward.”

Indeed.

Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Adam Levin is chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ate-thanksgiving-dinner-identity-thief-19-years/story?id=27194948

Technorati Tags: ,