Archive for September, 2016

ASK THE SHERIFF: Identity theft is not a victimless crime

Friday, September 30th, 2016

DEAR SHERIFF: Your officers occasionally arrest persons for identity theft. Some people act as though this is a victimless crime. Can you tell us what victims experience when their identity is stolen?

ANSWER: Yes, I will tell you about Sarah (last name withheld for privacy) who has shared with me her situation. Her case is a criminal case opened in 2007 by local police and federal law enforcement and finally closed in 2010. Here is Sarah’s story in her own words:

“‘If someone wants my identity bad enough there is nothing I can do to stop it’ were the words I spoke for many years and in late 2007 that is exactly what happened. A bank called me early one evening to ask me if I had opened a credit card with them in the last 14 days.

“I told the caller I neither opened nor applied for a credit card with her bank. She then told me I was a victim of identity theft. She strongly suggested I review my credit report immediately and file a criminal case with the local police department.

“After reviewing my credit report, I found several new credit cards with nearly $12,000 of debt, an inquiry for a home loan in California, as well as an address to which I have never lived. My first thought was, now what? I had no idea what life had in store for me during the next couple of years.

“I contacted the police to report the identity theft and was told the case may never get resolved. This was heart breaking to say the least. But I did not give up. After a while the police found the circumstance of the theft made this a federal case.

“I worked with the Inspector General’s Office, spending hundreds of hours on the phone and multiple trips to banks and other agencies providing documentation of my case and verifying my identity. This was an exhausting process and took over a year to fix.

“Credit card transactions were reviewed and the court ordered details on transactions and security video. Finally, the person was found and arrested. The process of numerous court dates began.

“I was extremely emotional to finally see the person responsible for so much time lost in my life. The first time I saw her, she was dressed casually carrying a Coach purse! That purse was more than likely purchased using a credit card opened in my name! I was angry.

“The next time I saw her was during her sentencing. The prosecutor asked if I would speak during the hearing to let the court know what impact this case had on my life. The entire time I was speaking she had her back to me, she didn’t want to look at me.

“This experience made me angry because I worked hard to get where I was in my life. I grew up with my grandparents with little money and became a teen mom at 18. Many people around me thought I would become a stereotype and a young mom on welfare for the rest my life; they did not know I was determined that was not going to happen. I graduated from high school, obtained a college degree and achieved a great career making enough money for a successful life.

“She chose to break the law and take what was not hers. As I write this it brings back angry feelings. She was sentenced to three years in federal prison and served most of it.

“I still say if someone wants my identity bad enough they will get it. But now I regularly review my credit reports and receive alerts informing me of any changes.”

Identity theft is a serious crime that is not victimless. As sheriff, I will do my best to ensure that victims have closure for their incident.

Ask-the-Sheriff a question by emailing Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers at brogers@elkhartcountysheriff.com

Article source: http://www.goshennews.com/news/local_news/ask-the-sheriff-identity-theft-is-not-a-victimless-crime/article_7c977b0e-773c-5909-aadd-58691d5095ca.html

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Merrimack residents warned about ID theft ring

Friday, September 30th, 2016

MERRIMACK — Residents are being urged to guard against identity theft after the arrest of a Walden, N.Y., man for burglarizing a local home and taking packages from it.

Charles A. Washington, 21, is being held on $25,000 cash bail awaiting an arraignment Oct. 6 on felony burglary and theft charges after his arrest earlier this week.

A resident called police last Tuesday to complain that a male had been pounding on her front door demanding she turn over mail that had been sent to that address.

She told a dispatcher that the male then moved to another door in the same, single-family home nearby, forced his way in and took two packages out of that dwelling.

Merrimack Police say this appears to be an organized identity theft ring that’s operating out of New York state.

Police found a credit card with the identity of a California victim inside the packages.

In the last six weeks, police said several residents have reported getting envelopes or small packages with their address but with a different name on the package.

Police suspect this organization is using stolen personal information, opening up credit cards with high limits and having these cards sent to random homes throughout Merrimack and surrounding communities.

Suspects are seemingly tracking the deliveries either through UPS or the U.S. Postal Service and quickly pounce and take these packages before the homeowner is ever aware that a package is at his or her door.

Last week, a Lee resident said he was fleeced out of $10,000 on a credit card through a similar scam.
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Article source: http://www.unionleader.com/crime/Merrimack-residents-warned-about-ID-theft-ring-09302016

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Child identity theft law signed

Friday, September 30th, 2016

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Article source: http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/2016/09/30/child-identity-theft-law-signed/91225214/

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Feds Charge Ten Virgin Islands Women With Tax Fraud, Identity Theft

Friday, September 30th, 2016

ST. CROIX — The federal government has charged ten Virgin Islands women with conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, a indicting court document has revealed. The women are either relatives or friends, according to the document, and six of them were advised of their rights on Wednesday at the District Court here.


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The ten women are accused of using sham IDs to file federal tax returns, and in the process receiving over $300,000 in refunds. The women charged are Joanne V. Benjamin, Sylvia P. Benjamin, Lynell Hughes, Thema Liverpool, Jaccinta A. Gussie, Indica Greenidge, Nisha Brathwaite, Darleen Thompson, Nicolette Alexander and Sheba Rashida Young.

According to the indictment, Joanne V. Benjamin and Sylvia P. Benjamin are sisters; Jaccinta A. Gussie is the mother of Thema Liverpool; and Darleen Thompson is Joanne V. Benjamin’s sister-in-law.

The alleged plot involved acquiring personal information for multiple persons, including some who knew of the scheme and others who did not. The illegal plan also entailed the acquiring of bank and debit card numbers for the deposit of the illegally obtained tax refunds; the illegal withdrawing thereof, and filing multiple tax returns.

The indictment alleges that the women acquired the personal identification for the unnamed individuals for tax years 2011 and 2012. Other personal information obtained included Social Security numbers, dates of birth and names, according to the indictment.


Article source: http://viconsortium.com/news-2/feds-charge-ten-virgin-islanders-with-tax-fraud-identify-theft/

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San Diego Marine Testifies In Fraud, Identity Theft Case Against …

Friday, September 30th, 2016

A San Diego-based Marine told a judge he was young, scared and felt obligated to buy something when approached by employees of Romano’s Jewelers in 2011.

The Marine testified in a Vista courtroom Wednesday as part of a criminal case against Romano’s store owner Ramil Abalkhad. Owner Ramil Abalkhad and Romano’s manager Carlos Torres and were charged following a 2012 U.S Marine Corps criminal investigation detailed in documents NBC 7 Investigates obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Marine Takes Stand in Romano’s Jewelers Case

[DGO] Marine Takes Stand in Romano's Jewelers Case

The Marine was testifying prior to the scheduled trial because he is being deployed. The judge asked that the Marine not to be identified. He based at Camp Pendleton in Oct. 2011 when he says he sat through a Romano’s sales presentation. He said he had no intention to buy any jewelry and was “just being nice.”

The Marine was questioned by both the prosecutor and one of Abalkhad’s defense attorneys in court Wednesday. During the questioning, the Marine said he signed paperwork, but didn’t “read it thoroughly,” and provided store employees with personal information, including his social security number.

“I started to leave the store and I was held back,” the Marine told the judge. “I was told since I signed something I was obligated to buy something from the store.” In the end he said he bought a Mother’s Medal of Honor for his mom.

“I was contacted by my bank to start payment,” the Marine said. “I already had the items and I couldn’t return them.”

According to the original criminal complaint, between 2010 and 2012, Abalkhad instructed manager Torres and employee Nellie Cha Noland to obtain the personal financial information of Marine customers and then add unauthorized charges on their store credit accounts.

In February, San Diego Judge Blaine Bowman decided 13 of the 23 charges against Abalkhad and Torres would move forward. The charges included identity theft, conspiracy and fraud allegedly targeting young Marines.

Abalkhad’s trial is set for November 1. He has pleaded not guilty. Torres pleaded guilty earlier this month. Noland pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to be a cooperating witness against Abalkhad and Torres. The sentencing for her and Torres is set to take place after the trial, according to a representative with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

David Youssefyeh, an attorney for Romano’s has previously told NBC 7 Investigates that “any owner or supervisor of Romano’s” had no idea that any of this was going on.

Wells Fargo CEO Roasted on Capitol Hill for ‘Egregious Fraud’, ‘Identity Theft’

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf faced down a furious panel of lawmakers Thursday as the House Financial Services Committee grilled him on his bank’s shady practices.

Representative Maxine Waters, the committee’s ranking Democrat, told Stumpf that Wells Fargo’s abuse of the public’s trust was “some of the most egregious fraud we have seen since the foreclosure crisis,” and compared it to mass identity theft.




For his part, Stumpf offered up more apologies, and said the bank planned to halt the cross-selling practices as of October 1, instead of January 1, 2017, as originally announced.

“I want to apologize for violating the trust our customers have invested in Wells Fargo,” said Stumpf. “And I want to apologize for not doing more sooner to address the causes of this unacceptable activity.”

Congress was not appeased. Representative Mick Mulvaney told Stumpf, “The damage you have done to the market and your industry far exceeds the damage you have done to your business.”

At one point, Representative Brad Sherman told Stumpf, “I don’t think you should be alone in this joyous experience,” and suggested that the heads of other big banks should join Stumpf on the Hill to explain whether they employed the same aggressive sales tactics.

“The American people need an assurance that this cross-selling mania that has affected Wells Fargo is not to be found at the other behemoth banks,” said Sherman.

Representative Ed Perlmutter even took issue with the bank’s terminology. “You don’t sell grapefruit. Why are you calling these things stores? You’re a bank.”

Related: It’s Not Just Wells Fargo: Disgraced Executives Who Got the Golden Axe

The scandal has cost Wells Fargo dearly: More than $20 billion has been wiped off its market value, California announced on Wednesday that it was suspending all state business with the bank for 12 months, the Labor Department said it would initiate a “top-to-bottom” review to be sure the bank hadn’t violated wage laws by failing to pay overtime to sales reps forced to meet aggressive quotas, and the SEC is considering an investigation to determine if Wells Fargo misled investors.

In addition, a group of former employees have filed a $7.2 billion lawsuit against the bank, saying they were dismissed or demoted for whistle blowing.

Wells Fargo was hit with a record $185 million fine earlier this month for opening fee-generating accounts without customers’ authorization in order to meet the high sales goals.

Wells Fargo’s independent board of directors on Tuesday rescinded Stumpf’s $41 million in stock awards and froze his salary until the investigation is complete.

Article source: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/wells-fargo-ceo-roasted-capitol-hill-egregious-fraud-identity-theft-n656881

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10 accused of federal tax fraud, aggravated identity theft

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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Article source: http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/news/accused-of-federal-tax-fraud-aggravated-identity-theft/article_da6a6e50-607c-595e-a7ec-33667d4e668d.html

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Ohio ‘Freeze Law’ protects children from identity theft | News …

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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Article source: http://www.circlevilleherald.com/news/ohio-freeze-law-protects-children-from-identity-theft/article_b420959d-2d75-5f6d-8de2-7acd0c331033.html

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Richmond woman arrested on suspicion of identity theft in Vallejo

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

VALLEJO — A Richmond woman was in jail Tuesday after a sheriff’s deputy allegedly found stolen items linked to identity theft in her possession.

The Solano County Sheriff Department posted on social media that a deputy responded Monday evening after a citizen reported a suspicious vehicle in the area of Home Acres Avenue and Woodrow Avenue.

A deputy made contact with Marie Concepcion, 22, of Richmond, and allegedly found stolen checks, credit cards, social security numbers and other forms of personal information and identification that was not Concepcion’s in her possession.

Concepcion was arrested on multiple counts of identity theft and forgery and booked into the Solano County Jail.

Article source: http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/09/28/richmond-woman-arrested-for-identity-theft-in-vallejo/

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Ohio ‘Freeze Law’ protects children from identity theft

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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Article source: http://www.circlevilleherald.com/news/ohio-freeze-law-protects-children-from-identity-theft/article_b420959d-2d75-5f6d-8de2-7acd0c331033.html

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