Posts Tagged ‘identity’

Woman sentenced to 15 years on forgery, identity theft charges

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

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Article source: http://qctimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-sentenced-to-years-on-forgery-identity-theft-charges/article_7fb9d329-af67-558e-a2cc-58e5f2c1913e.html

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Fraud, conspiracy, ID theft: A summary of the allegations against the Kealohas – Honolulu Star

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

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    Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, right, and his wife, Katherine left federal court in Honolulu on Friday. Kealoha and his wife, a city prosecutor, pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

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Here are the main allegations against retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a deputy prosecutor, that are contained in the federal indictment:

Katherine Kealoha, while a private attorney and trustee for two minor children, in 2004 established trust funds totaling more than $167,000 for the two children, then 10 and 12, and from May 2004 to February 2012 used almost all the money in those accounts to pay personal expenses of her and her husband. The expenses included mortgage payments, home refinancing costs and loan payments. The couple misappropriated nearly $150,000 from the two accounts. Katherine Kealoha created an alias, Alison Lee Wong, to carry out the scheme.

Katherine Kealoha used $25,000 that her uncle, Gerard Puana, gave to her in 2007 to invest in an investment hui for personal expenses instead. To carry out the ruse, Kealoha would periodically withdraw $600 in an account holding Puana’s money and give it to him as a “return” on his investment. Those payments prompted Puana to give Kealoha $70,000 in additional funds. Instead of investing that, the Kealohas used more than $45,000 to pay personal expenses. Puana got back $23,739 as “investment returns.”

As power of attorney for her grandmother, Katherine Kealoha helped her get a reverse mortgage on the the home of her elderly grandmother, Florence Puana, in October 2009 as part of a series of transactions meant to purchase a condo for the elderly woman’s son. Through the reverse mortgage, the grandmother borrowed about $513,000 to buy the condo, pay expenses and consolidate the Kealohas debts so they could purchase the condo from the grandmother and then sell it to her son. But instead of using some of that money to make payments on the woman’s reverse mortgage, Katherine Kealoha used it to pay more than $92,000 in personal expenses for her and her husband. The expenses included $10,663 in car payments for a Mercedes Benz and Maserati, $2,161 for Elton John concert tickets, $7,800 to install air conditioning at their home, $3,000 in charity donations, $3,596 in travel costs and $956 at Disneyland in California.

The Kealohas while acting “under the color of law” and in a conspiracy with the other suspects deprived Honolulu residents of their constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and destroyed and concealed records to obstruct an an official proceeding. They also altered and falsified records and tangible objects with the intent to impede a federal investigation.

The Kealohas improperly used their authority as public officials to prevent the discovery of their precarious financial condition and prior malfeasance involving the trust accounts and the dealings with her grandmother.

The Kealohas and the other conspirators would target members of the community, including Gerard and Florence Puana, who threatened the power and financial condition of the Kealohas. They also fabricated evidence against Puana, who had been accused of stealing the Kealohas’ mailbox, and conspired to present false testimony and evidence against him.

They attempted to obstruct the subsequent FBI investigation and federal grand jury probe into the Puana case.

The Kealohas devised schemes to defraud American Savings Bank, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union to obtain funds through false and fraudulent representations, including in 2013 submitting a forged police report claiming they were victims of identity theft in an attempt to explain derogatory information on their credit reports.

Katherine Kealoha was charged with aggravated identity theft for using another person’s name in 2013, 2014 and 2016 as part of a federal bank fraud violation.

The Kealoha Case: Key Players Key Dates by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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Article source: http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/10/20/breaking-news/fraud-conspiracy-id-theft-a-summary-of-the-allegations-against-the-kealohas/

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Federal jury convicts Jacksonville man after identity theft, fraud … – Florida Times

Saturday, October 21st, 2017


A federal jury convicted a 52-year-old Jacksonville man this week of several charges stemming from an identity theft scheme that involved bank and Social Security fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Anthony Johnson is guilty of nine counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of bank fraud, seven counts of false representation of a Social Security number and three counts of mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He faces up to 30 years in prison for each bank fraud offense, up to 20 years for each mail fraud offense and additional sentences for the other charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A sentencing date has not been set.

Johnson was indicted in August 2016 after he was apprehended at the Orlando International Airport the month before, prosecutors said.

The scheme started in 2014 when Johnson falsely claimed to be a former member of the Army and used Social Security numbers to open a bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He obtained a loan and multiple credit cards and then withdrew thousands of dollars from the United Services Automobile Association.

He later obtained two more loans totaling over $148,000 and had the money wired into a business account in the name of a false medical data company, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Johnson traveled to Dubai in the summer of 2016 and was arrested when he returned.

Joe Daraskevich: (904) 359-4308

Article source: http://jacksonville.com/news/public-safety/2017-10-20/federal-jury-convicts-jacksonville-man-after-identity-theft-fraud

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‘Shred it day’ curbs identity theft

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — One in ten Hoosiers will be a victim of identity theft and women are more likely to be victims, according to a IUPUI research project.

The report finds women are especially at risk.

As the season changes, we often find ourselves in our attics or basements – somewhere where there is inevitably a building pile of saved items and more often than not, that includes documents with sensitive information.

Many of us save items much longer than needed, thinking we’ll have it when – and if – we ever need it, which begs the question, how long should we hang on to that stuff?

In general, you should save tax returns and associated documents for three years, or seven years if your tax returns are more complex or involve worthless securities or bad debt deduction, according to the IRS.

Bank and credit statements can generally be tossed within a year, unless they bear significance for your tax returns, at which point they should be saved for seven years, according to the FDIC.

Receipts along with deposit or ATM tickets can usually be shredded after the transaction has posted to your account.

It is a good idea, however, to save receipts for large purchases or for products that may need proof of purchase for any potential future warranty claims.

How you get rid of these documents is key. Simply putting them in the trash or recycling can lead a thief to steal from you without ever trying to make it into your home.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America and it can cost you thousands of dollars.

“It can take over your life when you have to redo your identity. Sometimes the government has to issue a new social security number if it gets that bad. You literally have to call every single credit card, you have to monitor your credit every single month, if not bi-monthly and all this takes your time and everybody’s time is worth something,” said Steven DuBois with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

That’s why Crime Stopperspartners with AARP of Indiana and WTHR to hold two Community Shred It Days each year. It’s a quick and easy way to have everything shredded.

“I know there is a lot of focus on the high-tech data breaches where people have lost their information, but it is the low-tech things like trying to recycle it that somebody can get into that recycling bin and take that information and use it to steal your identity,” said Jason Tomcsi with AARP of Indiana.

You can also bring your old electronics – including computers – to any Shred It location.

“They take all of the hard drives out of the computer and they shred them — they don’t recycle them, they don’t clean them off and send them somewhere to use, they are shredded. There’s no way that information is going to get out. Old phones and things that have data on it — tablets, computer, they need to be shred it,” said Steven DuBois with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

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New Whiteland firefighters helped a couple finish their tree trimming after a man fell from a ladder. (Photo: New Whiteland FD/Facebook)

New Whiteland firefighters finish trimming trees for man injured in fall

The fall shred it day will be held Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at five locations:

  • WTHR – 1000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
  • Creekside Middle School – 3525 West 126th Street, Carmel
  • Greenwood Park Mall – 1251 U. S. 31 North, Greenwood
  • Speedway Police Department – 1410 North Lynhurst Drive, Greenwood
  • Lawrence Police Department – 9001 East 59th Street, Indianapolis

A $5 donation is requested for shredding and $10 for each TV or monitor. For more information visit www.crimetips.org.

If you suspect you have become a victim of identity theft, you may file an identity theft claim through the Indiana Office of the Attorney General by clicking here.

Article source: https://www.wthr.com/article/shred-it-day-curbs-identity-theft

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Federal jury convicts Jacksonville man after identity theft, fraud scheme – Florida Times

Saturday, October 21st, 2017


A federal jury convicted a 52-year-old Jacksonville man this week of several charges stemming from an identity theft scheme that involved bank and Social Security fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Anthony Johnson is guilty of nine counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of bank fraud, seven counts of false representation of a Social Security number and three counts of mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He faces up to 30 years in prison for each bank fraud offense, up to 20 years for each mail fraud offense and additional sentences for the other charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A sentencing date has not been set.

Johnson was indicted in August 2016 after he was apprehended at the Orlando International Airport the month before, prosecutors said.

The scheme started in 2014 when Johnson falsely claimed to be a former member of the Army and used Social Security numbers to open a bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He obtained a loan and multiple credit cards and then withdrew thousands of dollars from the United Services Automobile Association.

He later obtained two more loans totaling over $148,000 and had the money wired into a business account in the name of a false medical data company, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Johnson traveled to Dubai in the summer of 2016 and was arrested when he returned.

Joe Daraskevich: (904) 359-4308

Article source: http://jacksonville.com/news/public-safety/2017-10-20/federal-jury-convicts-jacksonville-man-after-identity-theft-fraud

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An unpaid $7 Waffle House bill leads Louisiana police to an LA-based identity theft ring

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Police in Louisiana have uncovered a sophisticated, Los Angeles-based identity theft ring, thanks to two men who skipped out on their $7 Waffle House bill, authorities said.

Waffle House employees called police Saturday, saying two men had stiffed the restaurant and driven away in a U-Haul van, Pearl River police said Thursday. Investigators were still taking statements at the restaurant when patrol officers spotted a U-Haul van parked at a nearby hotel, police said.

A passenger ran into nearby woods as officers approached, according to a news release from Deputy Chief Daniel Hunter.

The officers arrested the driver, and a police dog tracked down the passenger, who also was arrested, he said.

After Equifax Hack, Calls For Big Changes In Credit Reporting … – NPR

Friday, October 20th, 2017

David Mifflin says there have been multiple unauthorized attempts to open credit cards in his name since his Social Security number was stolen.

Courtesy of David Mifflin


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Courtesy of David Mifflin

David Mifflin says there have been multiple unauthorized attempts to open credit cards in his name since his Social Security number was stolen.

Courtesy of David Mifflin

This past spring, David Mifflin looked at his credit report online and saw that something wasn’t right.

There were inquiries from Chase Bank about an application for a credit card that someone was trying to open in his name. Mifflin, who lives in San Antonio, says he called the bank and was told the identity thieves “had my Social Security number.”

He set up fraud alerts with the three major credit reporting companies. But he says the fraudulent attempts to open credit cards continued “multiple times a week, multiple times a day.”

The Equifax security breach — the largest known theft of Social Security numbers in history — has lawmakers, prosecutors and identity theft victims like Mifflin angry with the company. The revelations have put a spotlight on the industry, raising some important and deeper questions and sparking calls for tough new rules to reshape the credit reporting landscape.

Mifflin soon found himself talking to collectors about debts he didn’t recognize. He kept seeing inquiries to open credit cards on his credit report and would call the bank to say “don’t issue those cards, it’s fraud.” He says he would wake up in the middle of the night worried and angry.

Even to discover any of this, Mifflin says he’d had to sign up for a service with the credit reporting firm Experian, paying $26 a month. He says that was frustrating too, to have to pay some $300 a year “just to get my information that they’re collecting.”

“That’s my information; I should have access to that at any time for free,” he says.

Senator To Ex-CEO: Equifax Can't Be Trusted With Americans' Personal Data

To Protect Children From Identity Theft, Parents Must Be Proactive

Mifflin put a freeze on his credit report with the credit bureaus. That apparently stopped anybody from opening new accounts. But he had to pay more money for that.

Then the Equifax hack came to light, involving stolen Social Security numbers and other records of more than 145 million Americans. “My anger level really, really kicked up after that,” Mifflin says. He doesn’t know whether he was a victim of that hack. The Equifax website told him his information may have been stolen.

All this got Mifflin asking questions that many lawmakers are now asking too:

  • How can these credit reporting firms collect our information, and sell it for a profit, without asking our permission?
  • Why do they have the right to charge us to see our own credit report regularly, or to freeze it, especially when they aren’t doing a good enough job of protecting our information from hackers?

“It’s incredible power that they have and they hold us just short of hostage,” Mifflin says. “I’d like to see some major reform.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is working with state lawmakers on legislation to require better security of credit records.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is working with state lawmakers on legislation to require better security of credit records.

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So would a growing number of lawmakers and regulators. Maura Healey of Massachusetts is one of more than 30 state attorneys general investigating Equifax. She was the first to file a lawsuit against the company in the aftermath of the massive hack.

“I find this incredibly irresponsible and outrageous,” she says. “The company and its executives need to pay and reforms need to be brought to this industry.”

Healey is working with Massachusetts lawmakers on new legislation to require better security. It would also block any company from buying consumers’ credit reports or scores without their permission.

“For far too long these companies have been out there collecting our personal data,” Healey says. “We never gave them permission to collect it, let alone to sell it to other entities.”

Equifax Takes Down Webpage After Report Of New Cybersecurity 'Situation'

In Congress, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., introduced a bill that would force the credit reporting firms to get federal cybersecurity reviews and to stop using Social Security numbers to identify people.

“You could develop technology very easily that would allow people to go to an app on their phone to put a credit freeze on and off free of charge,” Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told an industry spokesman at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday. “That ought to be a minimum.”

A bill introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., would require free credit freezes. And several proposals in Congress would also give Americans more access to their credit reports free of charge.

Chris Hoofnagle, a cybersecurity expert at Berkeley Law school, says all of these measures are necessary steps toward fundamentally changing the credit system. Currently, he says, “every second of your existence someone can come along and pretend to be you, get your consumer report, and get a new credit card or an auto loan in your name.”

Hoofnagle says your credit report should be frozen by default and then you could unfreeze it to, say, buy a car.

Andrew Smith, representing the Consumer Data Industry Association at the hearing, said the industry already faces enough regulation and that the credit bureaus play an important role in the economy by helping consumers get access to credit.

Every Yahoo Account That Existed In Mid-2013 Was Likely Hacked

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2017/10/18/558570686/after-equifax-hack-calls-for-big-changes-in-credit-reporting-industry

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‘Property Wars’ star pleads guilty to ID theft

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Scott Menaged, of “Property Wars,” pleaded guilty to identity theft and other charges.

 (Discovery)

A former star of “Property Wars” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two other charges involving furniture stores he owns and operates in the Phoenix metro area.

Federal authorities say Scott Menaged also pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated identity theft and money laundry conspiracy.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 27.

Prosecutors say Menaged could be facing at least a 10-year prison sentence and having to pay more than $2.1 million in restitution to banks.

Menaged was arrested in May in a case investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

Prosecutors say Menaged and three other defendants fabricated receipts of purchases at Furniture King stores and used the information of recently deceased people for bank credit applications.

The Discovery Channel show ran for two seasons and focused on a group of buyers who competed to outbid each other on foreclosed homes in the Phoenix area. The final episode aired in 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/10/20/property-wars-star-pleads-guilty-to-id-theft.html

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Unpaid $7 Waffle House bill uncovers intricate ID theft ring

Friday, October 20th, 2017

PEARL RIVER, La. — Police in Louisiana have uncovered a sophisticated, Los Angeles-based identity theft ring, thanks to two men who skipped out on their $7 Waffle House bill, authorities said.

Waffle House employees called police Saturday, saying two men had stiffed the restaurant and driven away in a U-Haul van. Investigators were still taking statements at the restaurant when patrol officers spotted a U-Haul van parked at a nearby hotel, Pearl River police said Thursday.

A passenger ran into nearby woods as officers approached, according to a news release from Deputy Chief Daniel Hunter.

The officers arrested the driver, and a police dog tracked down the passenger, who also was arrested, he said.

Hunter said a search of the van turned up fake identification and credit cards, credit card skimming devices — and a Waffle House receipt for $7.41.

The investigation revealed “a highly sophisticated identity theft scheme operating out of Los Angeles,” he wrote.

He said the driver, Stayshawn D. Stephens, 20, of California, and Richard A. Brown, 18, of Indiana, had flown into New Orleans from different states, rented the van in New Orleans, and had installed credit card skimming devices at multiple gas stations in the area to steal customers’ credit card numbers.

Investigators are working with the Secret Service and more arrests are possible, he said in an email.

Hunter said in an email that he did not immediately know Stephens’ or Brown’s hometowns.

The police statement said both were arrested on charges of identity theft, bank fraud, monetary instrument abuse and theft by fraud. Charges against Stephens also include criminal damage to property, driving with a suspended license, fraudulently acquiring credit cards and forgery, while those against Brown also include battery on a police officer and resisting arrest by flight, Hunter said.

“As long as I am here, we are not going to put up with any of this criminal nonsense, especially from criminals flying in from California and Indiana,” Police Chief Johnny “JJ” Jennings said in the news release. “Let this be a lesson on etiquette as well; pay your bill and tip your waitress.”

Article source: http://nypost.com/2017/10/20/unpaid-7-waffle-house-bill-uncovers-intricate-id-theft-ring/

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Huntington supervisor candidate blames tax problems on ID theft

Friday, October 20th, 2017

HUNTINGTON –

Tracey Edwards, the Democratic town supervisor candidate in Huntington, is using past federal and state tax liens filed against her as part of her campaign for office – saying she was once a victim of identity theft. 

Public records show that between 2005 and 2012, the IRS filed more than $173,000 in tax liens against Edwards. New York state also filed judgments for unpaid taxes between 1999 and 2010 worth more than $59,000. 

News 12/Newsday Report: IRS, state filed tax actions against Tracey Edwards, records show

Edwards doesn’t deny any of this, but she says there’s a catch.

“Someone put in tax returns in our name,” she told News 12 Long Island

The Huntington Democrat says she is the victim of identity theft. She says in 2014, her accountant informed her that the IRS rejected her electronic tax return. She says she then received a document from the IRS, which says she may have been the victim of identity theft. It assigned her a special PIN number for added protection.

Edwards told News 12 that she did not file a police report because “automatically, the IRS does the investigation.” She is doubling down on the alleged identity theft, even letting voters know about it in a mailer. 

Mark Balog, a Melville-based certified public accountant, says her claims “doesn’t seem to make sense.” He says Edwards may very well have been the victim of identity theft at one time, but the liens filed against her span over the course 15 years. He calls that a “red flag.”

“To be quite frank with you, if you have liens going back that far, more likely or not, in my professional opinion, that should be unrelated,” said Balog. 

Republican Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci, Edwards’ opponent in the upcoming election, says her history with tax liens calls her judgment into question.

“Fiscal responsibility in your personal life, I think, definitely relates to fiscal responsibility in your professional life, too,” says Lupinacci. 

Edwards has served on the Huntington Town Board since 2013. She and Lupinacci are vying to succeed Democrat Frank Patrone, who has served as the Huntington town supervisor for the past 24 years.

Article source: http://longisland.news12.com/story/36639239/huntington-supervisor-candidate-blames-tax-problems-on-id-theft

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