Articles Posted in Identity Theft

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A 44-year old Hastings woman was arrested Monday and charged with fraudulent use of personal identification information.

St. Johns County detectives apparently began investigating the woman in March of this year when an Ohio woman reported that her personal information was being used by the woman in St. Johns County.

According to reports, the 44-year-old allegedly accessed the Ohio victim’s Social Security number and, between November 2003 and February of this year, obtained credit from six different creditors to open charge accounts and loans amounting to $19,000 using the the victim’s personal information.

6280517815_e5d397bfd5_zThe was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and released a short time later after posting $10,000 bond.

If you have been charged with identity theft or fraud, you should know that there are serious consequences if convicted. In most cases, people charged with credit card fraud, identity theft and other charges relating to identity fraud have no idea about how much trouble they could be in.

Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand that many good people can make mistakes. One simple mistake does not warrant a state or federal conviction that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

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A University of Florida women’s basketball player was arrested Friday afternoon after a teammate accused her of stealing her credit card and using it at several stores, a nail salon and a pawn shop.

According to the arrest report, the 21-year-old woman was charged with theft of a credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card. The report identifies the woman as a member of the women’s basketball team.

The victim was listed as the woman’s teammate. The report alleges that the woman took her teammate’s credit card without permission on Jan. 11 from the women’s locker room of the basketball practice facility. According to reports, the locker room is secured by a key code known only to the team, coaches and janitorial staff.

12696032183_0d9622ae98_zThe alleged stolen card was used at Macy’s and a nail salon at The Oaks Mall on Monday, according to police. It was used on Tuesday at some other shops as well as a pawn shop.

On Friday, the woman apparently told police she found the card outside the practice facility and allegedly admitted to using the card at the stores, police said. She told officers she threw the card away after using it.

Credit card fraud often involves identity theft. It can be defined as many things, including:

  • Stealing a credit card and assuming the victim’s identity in order to purchase merchandise or goods
  • Theft of credit card data
  • Using credit card data without permission to make online purchases
  • Opening a new credit card account using someone else’s information
  • Using forged credit cards

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A former sheriff’s deputy, wanted since 1991 for capital sexual battery in Bradenton, Florida, was arrested on identity theft charges early Friday at his home in Eagle River, Alaska.

Police claim they found the man living life on the lam in Alaska after he used his late stepbrother’s name to apply for a driver’s license and unemployment benefits.

gavelThe 60-year-old man has been the subject of a federal warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution since 1993.

The man was living under the identity of his stepbrother, who died in his teens in the 1970s in Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

The man is charged in an indictment with two counts of unlawful use of a Social Security number for allegedly using his deceased stepbrother’s name and number to apply for an Alaska driver’s license in 2009 and unemployment benefits in 2013. He has also been charged with aggravated identity theft.

The Social Security Administration notified federal authorities of the alleged identity theft, according to reports.

The former deputy faces up to 12 years for the federal charges in Alaska, and could receive the death penalty in Florida if he is extradited.

Reports indicate that the former road patrol deputy was arrested in 1990 after he was accused of raping a 6-year-old girl in the 1970s. He fled the state before he could be tried.

Every state has the ability to make its own decision on whether to demand extradition. While each state has different standards for making this decision, it is likely that the state of Florida will seek to have this man brought back and tried for the alleged rape he is accused of. For the most part, states will not demand extradition for misdemeanors or minor criminal infractions. Moreover, the U.S. Constitution only requires that states demand extradition in the case of felonies and treason. The decision to extradite a fugitive can be made by prosecutors strictly based on the facts of the case.

In 1985, Congress passed the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act to set up a process for interstate cooperation when returning fugitives back to the state that is demanding them. All 50 states, which includes Florida, have adopted many of the provisions of the UCEA.

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A former correctional officer has pleaded guilty to committing tax fraud and using inmates’ identities.

According to investigators, the 26-year-old was working at the Zephyrhills Correctional Facility when he used Florida Department of Corrections databases to access the personal identifying information of inmates between January 2011 and May 2014.

The man allegedly used the information to file 182 fraudulent tax returns. Investigators claim the total amount of fraudulent funds requested in those returns is estimated to be more than $500,000.

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A West Palm Beach woman faces federal charges of identity theft and tax fraud after she allegedly stole personal information from more than 700 people.

The 39-year-old woman is accused of stealing personal information and storing  it in a notebook that included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Investigators allege the woman may have used some of the names to get prescription drugs, according to federal court records.

The accused and two others were arrested in October 2012 for credit card fraud greater than $100 in Martin County. Police were notified after a shoplifting incident was reported at the Treasure Coast Mall.

Once detained, officers claim they uncovered notebooks filled with 726 names and Social Security numbers, most of which belonged to people in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach,  20 debit cards and an iPad, according to federal records.

identity theftAccording to IRS investigators, most of the names and account numbers the woman had in her possession were used to file fraudulent tax returns that sought tax refund payments to credit and debit cards.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office referred the woman’s case to the IRS. Federal records indicate that the woman told federal investigators a man she knew had broken into a car on the day of her arrest, and stole credit cards and a gun.

The woman and the two men she was with are all convicted felons. According to Palm Beach County records, the woman pleaded guilty to felony battery in 2000 and 2004. She was also convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card in Palm Beach County in 2001.

She allegedly admitted to police that she and one of the men had broken into multiple cars and stolen credit cards. Police claim she told them she stole identification information to help others. She denied filing false tax returns.

However, investigators claim the woman filed false 2012 tax returns in early 2013 after her October 2012 arrest. Federal documents allege that the woman’s home contained additional names, information and letters from the IRS not addressed to her. Records indicate that the woman also had tax software on her computer with 2012 tax return information.

Investigators allege they found multiple returns that had been filed from the woman’s IP address.

The woman faces charges of unlawful possession of unauthorized access devices and five counts of aggravated identity theft. She faces 10 years in prison if convicted and is currently being held without bail.

If you have been charged with identity theft or any other related crimes, you must act fast and mount a hard-hitting, proactive defense. Make no mistake that the prosecution will be pushing hard for a conviction, and failing to address these charges early on could be the difference between a conviction and a successful outcome.

Due to the advances in technology and the Internet, identity theft has become a major criminal offense within the past few years. Often times these offenses cross state lines or are charged alongside with other serious criminal offenses, thus making them federal crimes. A Martin County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton knows the unique differences between state and federal criminal charges and can provide you with the strongest legal representation so that you can achieve an outcome that you can live with.

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A woman accused of pretending to be a nurse and treating patients at a Lake County home healthcare facility has been arrested and charged with running an unlicensed assisted living facility.

According to Lake County sheriff’s detectives, this is not the woman’s first run in with the law.

Before she allegedly duped a home health care facility into believing she was a licensed nurse in May, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office arrested her in December for scheming to defraud and criminal use of personal information.

Records indicate that for the May charges, the woman was released on $2,000 bail.

nurse betch.jpgInvestigators claim that the woman went to the Lake County home health care facility to become an office manager in May, but during the interview she produced paperwork and documentation showing she was a licensed practical nurse.

The woman apparently made home visits to patients on several different occasions.

The woman was fired just weeks after she started her position, after an audit by the
Florida Department of Health and detective work by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office allegedly uncovered she was not licensed to practice in Florida. Moreover, detectives allege she made her own license.

She is accused of using another registered nurse’s license number for the state and placing her name on the license.

The nurse the woman is accused of impersonating works at Saint Petersburg General Hospital and shares an almost identical name with the woman.

Lake County sheriff’s investigators claim they are currently working to identify any additional patients in the community that may have been treated by the woman.

Just like doctors, attorneys, dentists, veterinarians and other professionals, anyone wishing to become nurse must first obtain a license. This is something the state of Florida requires, as well as all other states. Practicing nursing without a license is a serious crime that carries very harsh consequences, including incarceration, fines, probation and even restitution to any victims that suffered any harm.

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News reports are claiming that Stuart Police Department arrested a Jupiter man on charges that he tried to extort $25,000 from his attorney. He is being held in Martin County Jail.

The man, Michael Stuart Pomerantz, was arrested at the attorney’s office Friday, according to law enforcement.

The police spokesperson said that the attorney came to an agreement 2009 with Pomerantz and another person to buy property. Eventually, Pomerantz and the second person filed a lawsuit against the attorney, which resolved through the mediation process.

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However in June of this year, Pomerantz allegedly told the attorney he would pursue criminal charges and alert the Florida Bar to the actions alleged in the 2009 lawsuit — unless the attorney agreed to give him $25,000.

Detectives conducted several controlled calls between the attorney and Pomerantz. In one, Pomerantz agreed to come to the attorney’s office on this past Friday to receive the money.

Audio and video surveillance equipment were set up to take the Friday meeting and it recorded Pomerantz allegedly telling the attorney: “You paid your debt. You owed me the money. We are even. You have my word.” Stuart Detectives arrested Pomerantz inside the attorney’s office.

Extortion, also known as blackmail, describes a threat made in order to take another person’s money or property, or to compel another person to act or not act. Extortion is a second degree felony in Florida. A conviction can result in term of imprisonment for up to fifteen years, a fine in an amount up to $10,000, or both.

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Florida Keys resident Alex Bogomolny had an outstanding $1.5 million arrest warrant based on allegations that he conducted multiple counts of fraud, specifically, trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and identity theft.

According to reports, he was picked up by the Monroe County Sherriff’s Office Tuesday as he was trying to catch a flight to Russia.

Credit Cards ...item 2.. Big hack attack on Israel inevitable, say experts (01/09/2012 12:04) ...

That day, the sheriff’s office received word that Bogomolny had flown out of Key West to New York but had missed his connecting flight to Russia. He was waiting in the John F. Kennedy airport for another flight, when he was apprehended.

Working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office alerted ICE agents that he was trying to flee the country. ICE agents found Bogomolny at the JFK and took him into custody.

Bogomolny will be returned to Monroe County to face charges.

Bogomolny’s scheme was discovered when he was picked up for allegedly stealing a bicycle in Big Pine Key. When his personal belongings were collected when he was questions, Officers found over two dozen credit cards with different people’s names on them. Bogomolny was unable to give a good explanation for his possession of so many cards, which prompted law enforcement fo start an investigation. During this investigation, investigators found that he was opening up credit accounts under other people’s names, according to the sheriff’s office, prompting the arrest warrant.

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Investigative news reports are claiming that Florida is the new hotbed for tax identity fraud in the United States, concentrated mostly in Tampa and Miami.

According to the report, Miami has 46 times the per-capita rate of false tax refund claims than the rest of the country, and 70 times the national average in terms of dollars.

Florida’s high proportion of older residents, who may be more vulnerable to fraud, may be one reason for the high levels of fraud in the state. Victims in Florida have varied from hospital patients, to Holocaust survivors at an elderly Jewish community center, as well as active duty military serving overseas.

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Two ex-NFL football players and a former high school football star were arrested in an undercover operation set up by FBI agents Monday for allegedly cashing dozens of fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks and seeking a loan, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

FBI agents apparently set up a check-cashing store “front” in Miami as a response to the escalating number of reported identity-theft crimes in South Florida and nationwide. The FBI claims the bust was designed to prevent an alleged identify-theft and tax-refund scheme.

The men arrested include: William Joseph who was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003 and last played with the Oakland Raiders in 2010, Michael Bennet who also was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001 and finished his career with the Raiders in 2011 and Louis Gachelin, a Miami Jackson High and Syracuse University defensive lineman who signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2004, but failed to make the final roster.

The former football players, Joseph, 32, of Miramar, Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, and Bennett, 33, of Tampa were granted bonds Tuesday. Arraignments are apparently scheduled for May 15.

The sting operation yielded five other arrests Monday as well.

Joseph, Gachelin and those five defendants were charged with cashing a total of about $500,000
in fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks, forging signatures on the checks and unlawfully using identification documents such as a driver’s license.

As part of the undercover sting, the FBI apparently charged 35 percent to 45 percent in fees to cash their checks with the bureau’s own funds.

Bennet allegedly tried to obtain a $200,000 loan on April 18 from the check-cashing store front using a UBS financial statement falsely showing that he had $9 million in collateral for the loan. He was charged with wire fraud.

The FBI claims fraudulently obtained tax refunds are costing the government $5 billion or more.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, people filing false tax returns have abused a hole in the IRS electronic filing system.

It appears that the IRS does not actually match tax returns to the W-2 income forms that employers file until several months after the filing season ends on April 15. Employers file returns at the end of February or early March, but the agency apparently does not match them up with employees’ incomes reported on 1040 forms until sometime in June.

According to the GAO, the number of identity theft-related fraud incidents on tax returns reached 248,000 in 2010, which is around five times more than in 2008.

Federal investigations into white collar or financial crimes can arise out of nowhere. In fact, these investigations can intensify quite rapidly, sometimes even before you are ever approached by investigators. It is critical to consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you have any reason to believe that you are under investigation for a financial crime. Often there are signs that can clue you into whether or not an investigation is in progress, including behavior changes in those around you, unusual questions or suspicious activities.

White collar crimes can include:

• Tax Crimes
Fraud

Identity Theft

• Embezzlement
Antitrust Crimes

• Hacking
• Forgery
Financial crimes require a strong defense, and in order to be effective you must retain a trial attorney prepared to practice in state and federal court. The Florida White Collar Crime Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand how a strong defense against financial crimes is built. We know how to identify loophole’s in the prosecutor’s case and leverage them to work in your favor.

It is important to realize that when you are charged with a crime, your future depends on early representation. Unfortunately, early mistakes cannot be undone and the prosecution will use any information they can against you.

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