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Identity Theft

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NEWS
November 15, 2008 | Inquirer staff
A federal judge has sentenced a 36-year-old Philadelphia man to 212 months - nearly 18 years - in prison for his part in a multistate bank-fraud and identity-theft ring that targeted bank customers between February 2004 and November 2005. The total loss from the schemes exceeded $400,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. During a sentencing hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick also ordered Akintunde Crawford, a three-time convicted felon, to pay $109,552 in restitution and a $1,000 special assessment, and sentenced him to five years' supervised release upon completion of the prison sentence.
NEWS
September 10, 2008 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia woman was sentenced yesterday to three to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a $15,000 civil penalty for using stolen identities to buy two cars and acquire insurance for them. Shakira Bastone, 35, had pleaded guilty in July to 12 counts of identity theft, 10 counts of insurance fraud, three counts of forgery and related offenses. Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn Engel Temin issued the sentence. Assistant District Attorney Charles Gallagher said Bastone, of Cliveden Street in Mount Airy, used the identities of a person boarding a cruise ship in Philadelphia and another whose wallet had been stolen in Atlanta.
NEWS
June 5, 2008 | By Emilie Lounsberry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In an unexpected move, federal prosecutors said last night that they would ask a judge to revoke bail today and detain Jocelyn S. Kirsch, the former Drexel University student accused in an audacious identity-theft scam. Kirsch, 22, the sometimes-violet-eyed beauty who captivated an international audience once tantalizing photos of her on vacation hit the Internet, had been scheduled to plead guilty this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. But last night, the U.S. Attorney's Office said that the plea hearing would be rescheduled and that a detention hearing would be held instead.
NEWS
November 13, 2002 | By Larry Lewis INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Philadelphia homicide detectives searched the house at 2523 S. Robinson St. two years ago looking for a murder suspect. Instead, they found an identity-theft laboratory - complete with credit-card embossers, phony checks, and fake driver's licenses - in one of the bedrooms. "You can't just call up and order a credit-card embosser," Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Pease said yesterday. "This is equipment that's supposed to be in financial institutions - in banks. " He spoke just hours after federal agents arrested Rodney Rutherford, 31, at his home in the 300 block of Berbro Street in Darby Borough and charged him with owning and using the exotic equipment.
NEWS
April 4, 2004 | By Robert F. O'Neill INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Seniors who do not own personal computers are lucky, at least in one respect. They won't be prey to Internet identity theft, which victimizes millions of Americans online each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But wait! If you've prepared your own income taxes recently, you may still be at risk for identity theft if you trashed papers and bank statements containing important personal information such as Social Security numbers. Michael Bannon, director of the Bucks County Consumer Protection Bureau, said identity thieves would just as soon Dumpster dive or loot your mailbox as dupe you into providing Social Security and credit-card numbers via e-mail.
NEWS
August 2, 2010 | By Sam Wood, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A former bank employee was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for stealing the account information of at least seven customers and providing it to members of an identity theft ring, authorities said. Regina Tolliver, 39, of Philadelphia, worked at the King of Prussia branch of Citizens Bank. Between February and November 2007 Tolliver gathered customers' personal information which was used to create fake drive's licenses. "Check runners" then posed as the customers and cashed fraudulent checks made out to the victims of the identity theft.
NEWS
August 3, 2010
A former bank employee was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for stealing the account information of at least seven customers and providing it to members of an identity-theft ring, authorities said. Regina Tolliver, 39, of Philadelphia, worked at the King of Prussia branch of Citizens Bank. Between February and November 2007, Tolliver gathered customers' personal information, which was used to create fake driver's licenses. "Check runners" then posed as the customers and cashed fraudulent checks made out to the victims of the identity theft.
NEWS
August 1, 2011 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
PITTSBURGH - At least 29 employees of the city of Pittsburgh have had their identities stolen, police said Monday. Police sent an e-mail to city officials over the weekend, which indicated that the victims were in multiple departments. Employees received bills from PayPal for purchases they didn't make, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Detective Christopher Jordan of the Pittsburgh Police Computer Crimes Unit said the thief or thieves set up account numbers using employees' names, addresses and at least partial Social Security numbers.
NEWS
January 23, 2013
IDENTITY THEFT IS a crime that's easy to dismiss. Until it happens to you. Just imagine: You've filed your tax return and are eagerly awaiting your refund. It's money you desperately need to pay some bills or buy whatever you've been hankering for. But then you get a notice from the IRS saying that your return has been rejected. You won't be getting a refund because it already has been claimed. You've become a victim of identity theft. Now, identity theft becomes very real. And it's getting frustratingly real for a growing number of taxpayers.
BUSINESS
October 5, 2013 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
When you or someone you know suffers identity theft, the typical loss is more than $4,900, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So how can we protect ourselves? A June study found that the number of identity fraud victims annually in the United States totaled 11.5 million people. So we put together some tips to fight identity theft: Guard your mail and trash from theft. Have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail while away from home, and install a lockable mailbox. Tear or shred receipts, insurance information, credit applications, doctor's bills, checks and bank statements, old credit cards, and any credit offers received in the mail.
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NEWS
August 8, 2014 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
THE STATE Attorney General's Office arrested two Philadelphia men, a Montgomery County woman and a New York man yesterday for running a "grandparent scam," in which they allegedly bilked at least $162,600 from 11 senior citizens in eight states. The suspects also are accused of trying to steal $37,325 more by snookering victims into thinking they were paying to help troubled grandchildren, according to the Attorney General's Office. One woman from Texas allegedly was defrauded of $64,900, according to the office.
NEWS
July 18, 2014 | By Stacey Burling, Inquirer Staff Writer
Penn Medicine Tuesday announced a data breach involving receipts from Penn Medicine Rittenhouse that were stolen last month from a locked office in Pennsylvania Hospital. Notifications of the theft were sent to 661 patients Monday, said Susan Phillips, a senior vice president and spokeswoman for the health system. She said no arrests have been made. There have been no instances of identity theft related to theft. Phillips said that was a "very low risk. " Many of the receipts were found on hospital grounds.
NEWS
June 14, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former social worker and three employees of a residential-care facility for the disabled have been charged with selling the identities of children in their care to help others cheat on their taxes - a scheme U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger described Thursday as "truly despicable. " Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment accusing Gebah Kamara, 46, of Sharon Hill, of stealing personal information from several foster children he encountered while working for Catholic Social Services, the charitable wing of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
NEWS
June 13, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A DARBY tax preparer has been charged with stealing the identities of foster children to falsely use their information on tax returns for his own benefit, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday. Momolu Sirleaf, 34, of Wycombe Avenue, owned and operated I.E.S. Tax Services, of Darby. According to the indictment: Sirleaf obtained the names and Social Security numbers of kids in the foster-care system. He used their information to falsely add them as dependents on some of his clients' returns "to generate fraudulent refunds, some in excess of $8,000.
NEWS
April 23, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
HER LONG, WAVY brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, a bespectacled Jocelyn Kirsch entered a federal courtroom in Philadelphia yesterday wearing a short-sleeved dark-green prison jumpsuit, her hands cuffed behind her back. The convicted identity thief - one half of the famed duo nicknamed "Bonnie and Clyde" - appeared plain, but still pretty, without makeup. As she sat in the holding area for defendants in the fifth-floor courtroom, the section normally considered the jury box, she smiled at one of her attorneys, Ronald Greenblatt.
NEWS
April 21, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
JOCELYN KIRSCH of "Bonnie and Clyde" identity-theft fame is back in Philly. Right now, she's holed up in a prison cell at the Federal Detention Center at 7th and Arch streets in Center City, across from the federal courthouse, where she has a date before a magistrate judge on Monday. The 28-year-old is here because she allegedly violated her probation in her identity-theft case by shoplifting in California, where she was living, and failing to pay part of her restitution in the Philadelphia case.
BUSINESS
March 18, 2014 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
As victims of the recent Target card-data breach, we learned the hard way that we live in a post-privacy world. So we asked some security experts how to protect our identities now that this type of theft seems as common as stolen cars and home burglaries. Adam Levin, co-founder and chairman of IDentity Theft 911 in New York City, says most identity theft starts with incoming phone calls or e-mails. If a stranger calls claiming to be from Verizon, Microsoft, jury-duty service or a utility, don't give out personal information.
NEWS
February 28, 2014
AS MUCH AS you may loathe tax season, there are people who rejoice during this time of year. They see it as prime time for picking people to victimize. Unscrupulous folks know that taxpayers are eager for ways to get a large refund. They love the complexity of the tax code, which gives them the opportunity to trick people into letting their guard down. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service highlights the low-down and dirty by putting out its list of top 12 tax scams. "Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said.
NEWS
February 26, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF & CHRIS BRENNAN, Daily News Staff Writers dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
AMAN WHO police say posed as District Attorney Seth Williams has been charged with a litany of crimes after allegedly scamming an elderly man out of tens of thousands of dollars, pretending to be the city's top prosecutor. The alleged scammer happens to be old pals with Williams and reportedly used that connection to gain the victim's trust. Shelton Thomas, 47, is charged with robbery, burglary, theft, extortion, criminal trespass, identity theft and impersonating a public servant.
NEWS
February 26, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Cobbs Creek man faces a slew of felony charges after, District Attorney Seth Williams said, he swindled a 93-year-old man out of at least $95,000 over three years by impersonating Williams. For several years, Raymond Campbell, a retired federal government worker and a World War II veteran, had hired Shelton Thomas, 47, to cut his grass, Williams said. In June 2011, Thomas told Campbell he had been arrested for dumping grass cuttings in an "unauthorized dumpster" and said Campbell had to pay his court costs and fees, Williams said.
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