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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
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.
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
January 31, 2012
A national crackdown on tax-related identity theft last week targeted more than 100 people and led to 58 arrests, according to the IRS and other federal officials. The IRS said it was also stepping up internal reviews to spot false tax returns, and working to help victims of identity theft refund schemes. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the crackdown "sends a strong, unmistakable message to anyone considering participating in a refund fraud scheme this tax season. We are aggressively pursuing cases across the nation with the Justice Department, and people will be going to jail.
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 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 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 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.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
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.
NEWS
February 20, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
MOUNT HOLLY Temeshia McDonald of Mount Holly lived well, with a high-end wardrobe, a 2012 Cadillac, and cosmetic surgery, according to court records. Among the 29-year-old's indulgences were sprees at Victoria's Secret, where she reportedly spent $355,545, federal authorities said, including $63,000 in merchandise and gift cards in just two months in 2012. On Tuesday, McDonald appeared in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., where she was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $557,690 in restitution after pleading guilty to fraud.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
As an IRS contact representative, Sherelle Pratt was tasked with tackling confused tax filers' most complicated questions. Instead, authorities said Tuesday, she left them with a more burning concern: What happened to their tax returns? A federal grand jury indicted Pratt, 49, of Philadelphia, on charges of theft, identity theft, and filing false returns - all stemming from an alleged scheme in which she pocketed nearly $29,000 in tax-refund money meant for nine of her clients. Investigators with the Treasury Department and the IRS began probing Pratt's work in 2009, after the father of one client questioned what happened to a $958 tax return and $600 stimulus check he believed his son was owed.
NEWS
February 10, 2014 | By Francesca Serritella, For The Inquirer
This new year, many women decided to reinvent themselves - as me. I was the victim of "high-level identity theft. " I came home from the holidays to find 12 new credit cards opened in my name, none by me. Somebody had gotten my Social Security number, birth date, and address. I freaked. I called my mom, and she freaked. Then I looked online and learned I could resolve the fraud in, oh, about 100 easy steps. The first was to file a police report. Simply being inside the police precinct made me feel guilty.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The data heists from Target and Neiman Marcus continue to focus attention on the problem of information and identity theft. If you're a victim, or just don't want to be one, see these sites. Immediate steps to take when your identity is stolen include placing an initial fraud alert with one of the three big credit-reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission's page on how to handle ID theft tells how. The alert entitles you to free credit reports from all three reporting companies, and you'll need them.
NEWS
January 24, 2014
SINCE THE major data breach at Target, many readers have asked how to best protect their credit. "My wife and I are vigilant and we replaced our debit cards because of Target," one reader wrote. "Our credit has been 'frozen' at the three credit agencies for years and we view the reports annually. Do you consider 'frozen' at the agencies as ample protection?" It's likely you've heard that if you're a victim of identity theft or you want to protect your files from fraud because you suspect you are vulnerable, you should put a fraud alert on your credit files at the major credit-reporting agencies - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
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