There are many ways to commit identity theft. Unfortunately, identity theft happens every day all over the world. Some of the most popular ways to commit identity theft are filing false tax refunds, medical identity, through credit cards, and even Facebook. The most impactful, though, are those involving the IRS and credit cards.
Tax related cases
There was a man who lived in Atlanta, Georgia who was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison. This man, Mauricio Warner, had committed several accounts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, filing false tax claims, and money laundering. He was ordered to pay $5,041,869 and his bank accounts were seized. Bank accounts that held a collective $4,185,455. He was able to gain this by filing over 5,000 false tax returns using various victims’ information. This he collected through false applications for “Free Government Money” and stimulus packages. (Stevens)
Harvey James, his sister Jacqueline Slaton, and Vernon Harrison were all sentenced to prison for using prisoner identities in their scam. James and the others used inmate information gathered from various sources to file false tax returns. These sources included one trusted individual in the Alabama Department of Corrections. Vernon Harrison, who was a postal worker, gave addresses that were along his route to use as the mailing addresses for the refunds. Their scams lead to over $1 million in false tax refunds. (Goldman)
A couple, Senita Birt Dill and Ronald Jeremy Knowles, were arrested and sentenced to jail. Dill is to serve 27 years and Knowles is to serve 5 years 10 months. They had filed over 1,000 tax returns in other people’s names and received over $3.5 million in refunds. They were charged with false claims conspiracy, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. They were renting a home on a lake that was surrounded by vacation homes. They used these addresses as their mailing addresses for the refunds because the boxes were easy to monitor and the risk of detection was low. They also used fake income information to maximize the refund amounts while still keeping the tax reports inconspicuous. (“Polk Co. Couple Pleads Guilty To Tax Refund Conspiracy.”)
In what is considered one of the largest cases of identity theft in history, Amar Singh and his wife Nehi Punjani-Singh were arrested and convicted. They, along with one hundred other individuals, stole victim’s identities from different websites and RFID scanners. After obtaining the information, they then made fake cards and used them to make as many purchases as possible. Their main focus being Apple products as they were easy to sell at higher values. The scam only lasted from July to September of 2011 but they were able to spend $13 million dollars on fake credit cards. (Compton)
Eleven people banded from across the world to pull off one of the largest identity thefts recorded. Three of these people were men from Florida; their names are Albert Gonzalez, Christopher Scott, and Damon Patrick Toey. They hacked into retailer networks and used certain programs to gain credit card information. Their tally before being caught was over 40 million debit and credit card numbers. On just one network alone, they gained the information of about five thousand cards. (Sosa)
Philip Cummings was a help desk employee when he began stealing consumer credit reports. He downloaded the information then sold it to collaborators in Nigeria. This resulted in millions of dollars being stolen through bank accounts and fake credit cards. His victim total was over 30,000 people in both the United States and Canada. (“No Ordinary Case of Identity Theft”)
A bus boy by the name of Abraham Abdallah was arrested for identity theft and credit fraud. He had stolen a collective $80 million from both well-known and average people. Working as a bus boy helped this along. He would take people’s cards to pay for their bill and copy down their information for later. However, most of his money came from pretending to be wealthy people’s, like Oprah Winfrey, financial adviser. Using basic information he had gleaned from public sites, Abraham conned banked into giving him essential information, account numbers for instance. He would then use these small bits of information to gather more information on the next call into the bank so as to not make the bankers suspicious. He then forged checks and credit cards in his victims’ names. (Miller)
Compton, Allie. “Largest Identity Theft Case In U.S. History: Amar Singh And Wife, Neha Punjani-Singh, Plead Guilty To Massive Fraud.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/largest-id-theft-in-history_n_1751241.html.
Goldman, Jeff. “Alabama Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Prisoners’ Identities.” ESecurityPlanet.com Internet Security for IT Pros. ESecurityPlanet, 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/alabama-man-pleads-guilty-to-theft-of-prisoners-identities.html.
Miller, Jen. “Busboy Arrested for $80 Million Identity Theft Attempt | The Brooklyn Ink.” Busboy Arrested for $80 Million Identity Theft Attempt | The Brooklyn Ink. TheBrooklynInk, 28 Nov. 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.
“No Ordinary Case of Identity Theft.” FBI. FBI, 18 Oct. 2004. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.
“Polk Co. Couple Pleads Guilty To Tax Refund Conspiracy.” USDOJ: US Attorney’s Office. The United States Attorneys Office – Western District of North Carolina, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. http://www.justice.gov/usao/ncw/pressreleases/charlotte-2012-10-29-dill-knowles.html.
Sosa, Ninette. “Justice: Hackers Steal 40 Million Credit Card Numbers.” CNN. Cable News Network, 5 Aug. 2008. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2008/crime/08/05/card.fraud.charges/index.html?eref=onion.
Stevens, Alexis. “Cobb County Man Sentenced to 20 Years for ID Theft, Tax Fraud.” Cobb County Man Sentenced to 20 Years for ID Theft, Tax Fraud. ACJ.com, 25 Aug. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/cobb-county-man-sentenced-to-20-years-for-id-theft/ng8zr.