Archive for February, 2016

Second Sister Gets Prison in Tax Identity Theft Scheme

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) – A second sister from Milwaukee is going to prison for stealing identities to get more than $234,000 in bogus state income tax refunds.

38-year-old Sharon Staten will spend 10 years behind bars and 10 more on supervision on counts of false tax credits, ID theft, and theft-by-fraud. 13 other charges were dropped in a plea deal, and she must pay about $200,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Staten, two of her sisters, and two other men were involved in filing 2,000 fake tax returns in 2011 and ’12 — and state revenue officials say they blocked another $726,000 in refunds that they sought.

Staten’s sister Angela was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison — a third sister, Tawanda, has a trial set for Monday on 28 fraud-related counts — and Anthony Coleman of Glendale is scheduled to appear Tuesday on an apparent plea deal in the case.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)

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Many Taxpayers Brush Off Identity Theft Risk

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

It seems many Americans are not taking the threat of identity theft too seriously this tax season, according to the results of a new survey by IDT911, a data security and identity theft protection firm.

Of the more than 1,500 adults who were polled, 63 percent said they were not worried about their identities being stolen, even though some online tax-preparation service providers and even the IRS have been attacked by identity thieves in recent years.

According to data from IDT911’s fraud center, tax-related identity theft cases have increased 154 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“Tax season has become fraud season. As breaches have become the third certainty in life, cybercriminals are able to glean information from literally hundreds of millions of compromised records in order to target consumers in tax-related identity theft and phishing schemes,” IDT911 Chairman and Founder Adam Levin said in a written statement. “In today’s dangerous digital world, each of us must be vigilant and remain on high alert.”

For the fifth straight year, identity theft took the top spot in the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams list. Phishing, a tax scheme usually conducted via email, was ranked third.

Other precautions many taxpayers overlook include not ensuring their Wi-Fi network is password-protected if filing their taxes online from home (19 percent) and not locking their mailbox when receiving their tax refund through the mail (49 percent). In addition, only 12 percent said they planned on filing in January, despite experts recommending that taxpayers file early so the IRS receives their tax return before identity thieves can steal their personal or financial information to file a fraudulent return.

Tax-refund fraud losses are estimated to reach $21 billion by 2016, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it received a 47 percent increase in identity theft complaints in 2015, with a majority related to tax-refund fraud.

“Consumers need to combat fraud by following the 3Ms: minimize their risk of exposure, monitor their bank and credit card accounts on a daily basis, and manage the damage by using resolution resources provided by financial services institutions, insurance providers, and the HR departments of their employers,” Levin said.

Other key survey findings include:

  • More than a third (38 percent) of respondents said they are unsure of how to vet a tax preparer, including 92 percent of millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Another 38 percent said they are not sure if their financial services or insurance providers offer identity theft or fraud protection services. The majority of respondents (57 percent) said their financial institution would be the first entity they’d contact once they learned they were the victim of a data breach.
  • More than half (52 percent) said they do not trust, or are not sure if they trust, online tax services.
  • Most Americans (48 percent) believe the holiday shopping season is the most risky time of year. Tax-filing season came in second at 30 percent.

Related articles:

Slideshow: IRS 2016 ‘Dirty Dozen’ Tax Scams
’Tis the Season for Data Breaches and Tax Scams
Most Millennials Dread Tax Season. Here’s Why

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With Identity Theft On The Rise, DC’s Tax Office Is Adding New Precautions

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Via Shutterstock

Tax season is also identity theft season. And according to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, those filing fraudulent returns have been having a field day in recent years.

Last year, the office caught around 25,000 returns, which were fraudulently requesting some $36 million. “Of course we don’t know what we didn’t stop,” says Stephen Cordi, the District of Columbia’s Office of Tax and Revenue. And then there were the hundreds of returns that the office only caught after a real taxpayer came forward, meaning that the money was already out the door.

So OTR is taking new precautions, some of which might affect how long it takes for you to get that refund check back.

The first is a fraud management system that compares information on returns to that in a massive database. If it finds a possible identity theft fraud, the office will send a letter asking recipients to provide a copy of a license, utility bill, or other documents that can verify ID. This system is already in place in around 20 states, according to Cordi.

As of about a week ago, about 10 percent of applicants in D.C. were receiving the letters. “We’re hearing back from largely legitimate taxpayers, but of course people who are thieves don’t respond,” Cordi says.

The second step, which is just being rolled out now, is a LexisNexis search that compares returns to taxpayer identification records. If they are inconsistent, the taxpayer is instructed to answer a four-question quiz (it’s the kind where they ask things like “which of these addresses have you previously lived at?”) People who fail the quiz get a second shot with a different set of questions; if they fail again, they’ll have to go to OTR in person to sort the issue out.

Several states also use the system, though Cordi says D.C. looked most closely at how Indiana and Louisiana implemented the program. The first of these letters will go out this week.

Finally, OTR is temporarily suspending new direct deposit requests. Anyone who has previously used it will still get their return in that manner, but people who are requesting a direct deposit for the first time will receive a check. The idea is that if a thief has used a real address, the check will be sent to a resident with the instruction to call OTR if it wasn’t meant for them. Next year, the office plans to have a place to vet accounts before authorizing new direct deposits.

All this means that it’ll take longer for people to get their returns back. The new systems add two or three days for people whose returns aren’t flagged. For those who do receive letters asking for additional information, it all depends on how long they take to send it in. “The delay largely depends on how quickly you react to our letter,” Cordi says.

OTR encourages taxpayers with questions or issues to call their customer service number (202-727-4829) or visit them during walk-in hours, which have been extended to include Saturday mornings.

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IRS Spokeswoman: Tax Season Spawns Identity Theft

Friday, February 26th, 2016
konglinguang, ThinkStock
konglinguang, ThinkStock

Tax season is a ripe time for the unscrupulous to take advantage of those filing their returns, an Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman says.

Scammers use a variety of ways to get someone’s identity, sometimes by calling a person and telling them their tax returns indicate they owe money and need to pay up immediately or risk arrest and imprisonment, Karen Connelly said.

Sometimes they will ask for personal information — Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and the like — in the process and do other damage as well, Connelly said.

“People can take that information wherever they get your identity,” she said. “They can open accounts in your name, clean out your bank account. They can do all kinds of damage much beyond the impact of the tax return.”

Identity theft may not have the drama of robbery, but the financial pain can be greater, Connelly said.

“This type of crime hits people generally pretty hard because they’re not stealing in small increments,” she said. “They’re going to take you for a bit of money, it’s going to be a large bit, and we’re talking about thousands at a time.”

To fight these crimes, the IRS recently identified its “dirty dozen” top scams of the year that often start during tax season. More details can be found on its website.

Some of these are deceptive and illegal acts committed by criminals preying on taxpayers.

And some scams are committed by taxpayers themselves, who enrich themselves at other taxpayers’ expense.

Here they are:

Identity Theft: Criminals file fraudulent tax returns using other taxpayers’ Social Security numbers.

Phone Scams: Criminals impersonating IRS agents call people, tell them they owe money and threaten them with arrest and penalties if they don’t pay.

Phishing: Criminals will send fake emails or advertise bogus websites looking to steal personal information. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS.

Return Preparer Fraud: Most tax professionals provide honest high-quality service, but some dishonest preparers set up shop to perpetrate refund fraud and identity theft.

Offshore Tax Avoidance: Don’t conceal assets in unreported offshore accounts to avoid taxes is illegal.

Inflated Refund Claims:  Be wary of anyone who asks taxpayers to sign a blank return, promises a big refund before looking at their records, or charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.

Fake Charities: Watch out for groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations, and be wary of charities with names similar to familiar organizations.

Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns: Do not falsely inflate deductions or expenses on returns to under pay what they owe or possibly receive larger refunds.

Excessive Claims for Business Credits: Don’t improperly claim the fuel tax credit, which is generally limited to off-highway business use including farming. Likewise, don’t misuse of the credit for research activities.

Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: Don’t  invent income to erroneously qualify for tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Taxpayers are sometimes talked into doing this by scam artists, which can lead to big bills to pay back taxes, interest and penalties, if not criminal charges.

Abusive Tax Shelters: Don’t use abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes.
Frivolous Tax Arguments: Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims even though they are wrong and have been repeatedly thrown out of court.

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Former trooper charged with identity theft, drug fraud, more

Friday, February 26th, 2016

A former law enforcement officer who already was facing multiple charges of obtaining medications by fraud has been charged again, accused of having multiple driver’s licenses and stolen health insurance cards, according to a Louisiana State Police release.

Tommy Roger L’Hussier, 35, was arrested Wednesday afternoon by State Police investigators from the Alexandria Bureau of Investigation office. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on four counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud, 13 counts of theft, 30 counts of identity theft and two counts of malfeasance in office.

These charges relate to L’Hussier’s arrest in late January on 33 counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. After that arrest, investigators got a search warrant for his Pollock home, where they found seven Louisiana driver’s licenses, a Louisiana identification card and two health insurance cards.

The health insurance cards were “confirmed to have been stolen during his employment as a Louisiana State trooper,” reads the release.

From Jan. 29, 2007, to March 18, 2015, L’Hussier was a trooper assigned to Troop E. Two months after his resignation, L’Hussier was among a group of 10 people arrested by State Police on various drug charges.

The release states that L’Hussier, of the 500 block of East Meade Road, used two of the driver’s licenses and the identities to get prescriptions without the knowledge of the owners of those items.

Bond was set at $390,750. An investigation is continuing.

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Kids At Risk Of Identity Theft; How To Freeze Your Child’s Credit

Friday, February 26th, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Studies show your kids may be at greater risk for identity theft than you are.  The good news is that there is a tool to prevent anyone from opening credit or taking out loans in their name. The bad news is that the credit bureaus won’t let you use it to protect your kids!

A proposed state law in California may open the door for child credit freezes nationwide, but I discovered a loophole that allows the bureaus to put you and your kids at greater risk.

Why Kids Are At Risk For ID Theft

At 12 years old, Corrie Vaughn earned money by taking out the trash. However, the Northern California middle school student was well aware it would take more than chores to pay off the debt an identity thief accumulated in his name. “I don’t know what credit is, but I know it’s not good to have bad credit,” said Vaughn.

Nelia Ellsworth doesn’t yet know if crooks racked up thousands of dollars in her kids’ names, but she was horrified to learn her kids couldn’t get much-needed medicine because someone else was using their social security numbers for insurance. “They told me three of my four kids had insurance in another state.”

They make up just a few of the growing number of child identity theft victims. A Carnegie Mellon report found more than one in ten children were victims of identity theft and that was before millions of kids were exposed last year though massive insurance and government hacks.

Federal Trade Commission consumer protection attorney David Newman points out that children’s social security numbers make great targets because their unused credit history offers a clean slate for crooks.

“Well, if I was going to steal someone’s credit, I’d steal a child’s credit,” said Newman. “They’re not gonna know about it for a dozen years.”

Protecting Kids From ID Theft

A credit freeze, also called a security freeze, is widely believed to be the single best tool to prevent identity theft. It basically prevents anyone from running a credit check using your security number.

A credit check is generally needed for a crook to take out credit card, loans or other types of credit in a child’s name. However, it’s important to note that a credit freeze does not prevent tax identity theft, insurance fraud or some other forms of ID theft.

“A credit freeze for children is a fabulous idea, because they’re not going to be using their credit” said Newman.

For adults, a credit freeze is a simple secure online process. I froze my credit in about 10 minutes. However, in order to freeze your kids’ credit, they have to have a credit file to freeze and kids won’t have a credit file until they start applying for credit.

So why won’t credit bureaus let parents proactively create a file to freeze first?  “The credit bureaus make their money selling your information to would-be creditors,” said Newman. “In the case of children, it’s not worth it to them.”

Recognizing the unmatched value of a credit freeze, 23 states have now passed laws requiring the bureaus allow parents to freeze their children’s credit. California is not yet one of them.

The Work-Around And Security Risks

In 2014, I found a work-around to getting my child’s credit frozen.

I added my toddler as an authorized user on my credit card, which created a credit file – not a credit report or a score – but a credit file that the bureaus could be forced to freeze.

But I quickly discovered that the credit bureaus themselves were putting both children and parents at greater risk.

In my NewsMom blog: “How I Forced The Bureaus To Freeze My Child’s Credit,” I’ve outlined those security risks and related how I six months convincing the bureaus to make changes.

In order to verify guardianship, parents must submit social security cards, birth certificates and other sensitive documents. However, two of the three bureaus ask you to mail all those sensitive documents to a P.O. Box.

“I would be concerned about that,” said Newman, who pointed out that the P.O. Box address alone is enough to tip off identity thieves a child’s entire identity is inside.

When I called to request a secure alternative to submitting these her documents, I found another concern. Foreign call center reps wouldn’t even transfer me to a U.S. supervisor until I gave them my child’s social security number. Yet, the call center employees said they had no employee ID numbers to let my track who I was giving this sensitive information to. When pressed, one rep did say she was in India and her name was “Jane Smith.”

The reps also tried to allay my fears, saying they had no way of recording any personal information. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t prevent someone determined to steal an identity.

The Bureaus’ Response – And A How-To Guide

When questioned about the practice, media representatives for Transunion and Equifax both apologized and said call center employees can look up accounts using an address and other “identifiers.”  You can read their full response in my NewsMom Blog.

TransUnion and Equifax both also pointed out that Indian call center employees have no paper or writing utensils. “I assume they have no memories?” Newman said. “If someone is sitting (in a call center) and they managed to memorize one name and social security number a day, that’s probably more than they would make in a month,” he warned.

Over the next six months, the bureaus did begin to make some changes. Experian now lets you upload documents online while Transunion and Equifax will only give you a fax number. However, you have to know to ask for the more secure methods.

After dealing with this issue for so long, I ultimately created a step-by-step guide to freezing your child’s credit. To my knowledge, it is the only one of its kind. It includes detailed summaries for each bureau, hard-to-find contact information, tips, sample documents, and how to avoid security concerns specific to each credit bureau. There’s also a detailed description of the hurdles parents may encounter with each bureau along the way.

Equifax has now voluntarily agreed to allow child credit freezes every state, but Experian TransUnion still refuse. To be effective, you must freeze a file with all three bureaus.

Rep. Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced the child credit freeze legislation AB 1580 after seeing KPIX ConsumerWatch and reports on the issue.

“For California not to allow minors to have credit freezes just doesn’t make sense,” said Gatto.

For the first time, the proposed legislation would give California parents the right to freeze their child’s credit and utilize the single best tool to prevent financial identity theft. Gatto’s office believes the bill will face little opposition because it’s similar to the laws passed in other states and the bureaus have already weighed in on.

Gatto, Newman and many others believe the California law will be a precursor to federal legislation this year that will give the same rights to parents nationwide.

“This is something that ought to be a national policy” said Newman.

“You know if California acted, 1/10th of the population would have this protection and we’d probably get a federal law on the same topic,” said Gatto.

Finally, I also discovered a loophole in AB 1580 as well as in similar laws in many other states. The bill requires parents to submit the documents needed to prove guardianship “to the address or other point of contact and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency.” Currently the “manner specified” by two of the three credit bureaus puts sensitive information at risk.

I pointed this out to Assemblyman Gatto, and he agreed to amend the legislation to ensure a safe and secure child credit freeze process in addition to the right to freeze your kids credit in the first place.

“The law should require the credit bureaus to make this as easy on parents as possible,” he said.

The California law should go to the floor for a vote later this year.

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Elderly Weston man is victim of identity theft

Friday, February 26th, 2016

A Danbury man is accused of stealing the identity of an elderly Weston man and making fraudulent charges on his bank account.

On Feb. 1, Weston police arrested 47-year-old Derrick Perkins of Danbury, after he turned himself in on an outstanding arrest warrant filed on Jan. 20.

Perkins was charged with identity theft, credit card theft, and illegal use of a credit card.

He was released on $1,000 bond and appeared in Norwalk Superior Court on Feb. 4.

Perkins worked as an in-home caretaker for the 84-year-old victim, a Weston resident at the time, from October 2014 through January 2015.

Some of Perkins’ duties included assisting the victim with his daily activities and driving him to run errands.

According to a Fairfield County Bank statement from February 2015, there were fraudulent charges of $53,630.40 made from the victim’s account, including two loan payments, one on Feb. 3, 2015, and one on Feb. 17, 2015, made in Perkins’ name.

Fairfield County Bank obtained a fraud affidavit on behalf of the victim and in March 2015, almost all the money was returned to the victim’s account. The fraudulent transactions were charged back to the merchants.

There was, however, a financial loss of $366.30 from unauthorized charges made in Danbury.

Weston police approached Perkins and he told them the loan payments and other charges that totaled $366.30 were made with his own debit card. When police asked him to provide proof of payment, he never complied.

In October 2015, Weston police spoke with Perkins again. He told police that he kept the victim’s debit card to run the victim’s errands. He also said he used the victim’s card to make two loan payments with the victim’s permission.

Two days later, Weston police contacted the victim, who now lives at an assisted living home in Redding, and asked if he authorized Perkins to make loan payments with his card. The victim responded, “No way,” but did say he gave Perkins authority to purchase groceries with the card.

Later that day, Perkins came to the police department and again told Weston police that the victim authorized two loan payments.

When asked how he could make those payments in February despite ceasing his work with the victim in January, Perkins became upset and eventually admitted to taking the victim’s debit card from the dresser in his bedroom and making the loan payments without the victim’s consent.

Perkins admitted to making five charges on the card in January and February 2015. He also denied making five additional charges on the card that occurred when he had possession of it.

There were numerous other charges made at an ATT store in Waterbury using the victim’s card.

The Waterbury Police Department has an active investigation regarding those charges.

Perkins is awaiting plea at Norwalk Superior Court. His next court date is March 3.

One of the charges, identity theft in the third degree, is a class D felony, which could mean up to five years in prison if Perkins is convicted.

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Tax fraud, identity theft scheme: Second of three Milwaukee sisters headed to prison

Friday, February 26th, 2016

MILWAUKEE — The second of three Milwaukee sisters charged in connection with a tax fraud and identity theft scheme has been sentenced to prison.

Sharon Staten

Sharon Staten

Sharon Staten of Milwaukee received a 20 year sentence Thursday, February 25th from Judge Jeffrey Wagner for her part in a tax fraud and identity theft scheme that involved her two sisters as well as two accomplices, James Cross and Anthony Coleman.

Staten will have to serve 10 years prison time, and an additional 10 years extended supervision. She was also ordered to jointly repay $202,520 in restitution to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Sharon and her two sisters, Angela and Tawanda, were charged with a total of 90 felony charges in February 2015 for filing fraudulent income tax returns following a two year investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s (DOR) Criminal Investigation Section.

Sharon Staten, Tawanda Staten, Angela Staten

Sharon Staten, Tawanda Staten, Angela Staten

The three sisters are being prosecuted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office for being part of a scheme where 2,000 fraudulent tax claims were filed between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.

The scheme attempted to get a total of $960,175 in tax refunds, but the agency blocked $725,785 in fake claims, or more than three quarters of the fake returns, by following the patterns that the Staten sisters and their accomplices used when filing.

Angela Staten

Angela Staten

38-year-old Angela Staten was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison on February 9th for her role in the scheme. In addition to the prison time, Staten has been ordered to serve 14 years extended supervision. Angela Staten must also jointly repay $202,520 in restitution to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Tawanda Staten has a jury trial scheduled to start on February 29th, 2016.

The accomplice, Anthony Coleman, has a court appearance on March 1st, 2016.

DOR’s Criminal Investigation agents referred the case to the Milwaukee County DA’s office in April 2014 following an in-depth investigation that gathered evidence against the Staten sisters.

This includes evidence that was gained when DOR’s agents executed search warrants against all three on May 31, 2012, which turned up documents, computer files, fingerprints and other evidence that listed hundreds of stolen identities with names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.

Staten Sisters’ Criminal Charges

Angela Staten

Angela Staten

  • Angela Staten faced 40 felony charges for identity theft, fraudulent claims/income tax credit and false representation for crimes committed between 2010 and 2012.  Angela’s accomplice, Anthony Coleman was incarcerated at Fox Lake Correctional Institute.  Coleman and Staten told inmates Angela would help file their tax returns, and Coleman provided fellow inmate names and social security numbers, which were then used to file false claims.  The Fox Lake Correction Institution provided this information to DOR, and this tip helped agents with their investigation.  In November 2012, East Troy police arrested Angela and Coleman during a traffic stop.  Police found handwritten notes in Staten’s purse which included personal information of three prisoners, as well as a fake income tax return in her own name. SENTENCE: 14 years in prison, 14 years extended supervision.

Sharon Staten

Sharon Staten

  • Sharon Staten faced two felony counts related to identity theft and fraudulent claims/income tax credit for the crimes she committed.  When agents executed the search warrant in May 2012, they found 58 prepaid debit cards, mail, personal papers, invoices, and bank records concealed in a plastic bag in a Huggies diaper box.  They also found approximately 25 receipts and invoices with her alleged accomplice’s name, James Cross, listed on the documents.  The notebooks and papers found contained the personal information of 300 people, and had notations as to which returns had been filed in Wisconsin or the IRS, bank routing numbers, prepaid debit card account numbers and account passwords. SENTENCE: 10 years in prison, 10 years extended supervision.

Tawanda Staten

Tawanda Staten

  • Tawanda Staten faces 28 felony charges including identity theft, fraudulent claims/income tax credit, and false representation for the alleged crimes she committed between January 2011 and December 2012.  Tawanda used fake wage and tax statements to file her refund claims and returns, as well was fake rent certificates to obtain homestead credits.  According to the criminal complaint, she often used the identities of inmates incarcerated in the Mississippi prison system.  DOR’s law enforcement agents found notebooks and scrap papers listing hundreds of stolen identities with names, dates of birth, and social security numbers at Tawanda’s residence when the search warrant was executed in May 2012.  Agents also found fingerprint evidence, computer files and prepaid debit cards that matched the fraudulent returns. Tawanda has a jury trial scheduled to begin on February 29th.

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Minneapolis man charged with identity theft after health-club thefts

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Eden Prairie Police patrol car

Eden Prairie Police patrol car

The side of an Eden Prairie Police patrol car.

Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 4:00 pm

Minneapolis man charged with identity theft after health-club thefts

Ronald Lee Guy, 38, of Minneapolis has been charged with identity theft after he allegedly used credit cards stolen from health clubs around the metro to make fraudulent purchases.

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      Wednesday, February 24, 2016 4:00 pm.

      Eden Prairie Police,

      Life Time Fitness

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      Talladega man arrested; charged with identity theft, breaking and entering

      Thursday, February 25th, 2016

      Arnold facing charges

      Arnold facing charges

      Austin Chase Arnold has been arrested in connection with unrelated cases of identity theft and breaking into and entering a motor vehicle.

      Posted: Monday, February 22, 2016 11:20 pm

      Updated: 11:24 pm, Mon Feb 22, 2016.

      Talladega man arrested; charged with identity theft, breaking and entering

      Chris Norwood, Daily Home staff writer,

      A Talladega man has been arrested in connection with unrelated cases of identity theft and breaking into and entering a motor vehicle.

      Austin Chase Arnold, 22, was given a $50,000 bond on the breaking and entering charge by Talladega County Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth. A bond in the identity theft case had not been set as of Monday afternoon.

      According to Talladega police Lt. Jimmy Thompson, Arnold is accused of stealing at least $9,600 from a single victim. After stealing the victim’s identification last year, Arnold allegedly withdrew $4,600 from the victim’s 401 (k) in Talladega and another $5,000 from the same account in Oxford.

      Arnold is an alleged co-defendant of Gary Montreal Taylor, 31, who was arrested on identity theft charges in October. Taylor is accused of stealing from the same victim, including spending some $8,000 on a gold dental grill, Thompson said.

      Thompson added that the withdrawals were made in July but were not discovered until Feb. 11 as the victim was preparing his taxes.

      Both of the withdrawals were captured on video.

      The breaking into and entering of an automobile charge stems from an incident in January, with Arnold allegedly trying the door handles on several cars parked in a public lot before finding one that was unlocked.

      Among the items stolen from the unlocked vehicle were a cash, an Alabama hat, Xanax, estrogen pills, an identification card and a pair of sunglasses. Thompson said none of the stolen items had been recovered as of Monday.

      Identity theft is a class B felony in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by two to 20 years in prison. Breaking into and entering a motor vehicle is a class C felony, punishable upon conviction by one year and one day to 10 years in prison.

      • Discuss


      Monday, February 22, 2016 11:20 pm.

      Updated: 11:24 pm.

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