According to published reports, identity theft has grown increasingly prevalent in states across the country. Florida in particular has seen many instances, leading local authorities to increase their efforts to prevent it. Those efforts have included increased collaboration with federal authorities, such as sharing information and resources. Yet, identity theft still happens on a regular basis, as occurred recently in a local white collar crime case.
In this case, a Miami man pleaded guilty to charges that included aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud. The man, 33, was arraigned in a U.S. District Court located in Richmond. After his guilty plea was entered, he was sentenced to 9.5 years. Because a tax refund scam was involved, the situation is still under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.
Information about what happened was obtained in a unique way. The man at the center of the case had rented a storage locker, but was overdue on paying for it. That led the manager of the storage facility to realize that it may have been rented with stolen identity information. When the man showed up, he was searched with his consent. Police found that he had a TurboTax debit card in someone else's name in his shoe.
After that, police obtained warrants and searched the storage unit. There, they found index cards that had personal information for people across the country. That information included names, social security numbers and dates of birth. The man was arrested, and charges were filed.
In this case, the man accused of identity theft and other white collar crimes pleaded guilty. However, a guilty plea may not be in the best interest of others accused of similar crimes, who may want to plead not guilty and fight the charges.
Source: Times Dispatch, "Fla. man to serve 9½ years for ID theft scam" Frank Green, Jan. 10, 2014