Daily Alert

29 November 2008

Identity Theft Creates Many Victims

Wow. Below is an identity theft article which almost has it all. The criminal activity in this case included check forgery, ACH fraud (automated clearing house – using the checking account number electronically), new account fraud, true name fraud-banking, utility identity theft, elderly abuse, and minor identity theft. Perpetrators of identity theft have a longer run in their business of fraud when they do not leave such an easy trail. This perpetrator made the investigative case very easy. All too often, amateur criminals find the path to criminal activity a very easy one but, like this girl, don’t believe that their apprehension is possible.

The successful identity thief does not use the same identity for very long, trading an identity they successfully used for another identity or just moving on to the next victim. Extended cases of fraud, one perpetrator using one victim’s information repeatedly, rarely occurs when the both the victim and perpetrator live within the same jurisdiction and know each other. Now, it is not uncommon at all that the victim knows the perpetrator. Most victims of identity theft do not know how their identities were compromised. But of those victims who knew who the perpetrator was, in 48% of the cases the perpetrator is someone the victim knows or trusts. This is a sad commentary.

In this story below, the perpetrator made a victim not only of an elderly patient who was in her charge and probably incapable of knowing what was happening but also victimized her child and a “boyfriend”. In the case of the “boyfriend”, I would venture to guess that he had a difficult time claiming that he was victimized. The perpetrator’s fraud was such that he appeared to benefit from the fraud. A fraud investigator would see that the boyfriend’s name was added to a fraudulent checking account and his debts were paid through the agency of stolen money. What was purchased with that fraudulent account? Did he benefit from that money? I have seen plenty of fraud claims declined for less. The most frequent fraud claim declined by industry fraud investigators in my experience is the fraudulently opened cellular telephone account where the fraudulent cell phone number called the home or cell phone number of the victim. Another victim of the identity theft perpetrator, her unborn child, may be a teenager before his/her mother will be released from prison.

Nursing assistant guilty of ID theft

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 6:24 AM EST


For The Reporter

A former nursing home employee accused of stealing from a 75-year-old patient's checking account to pay her and a boyfriend's bills, has pleaded guilty to identity theft.

A year ago, the 28-year-old Conshohocken defendant, Jennifer Ann Antonelli, worked as a nursing assistant at Andorra Woods Health Care Center, at 9209 Ridge Pike, in Lafayette Hill, when she began fraudulently drawing on the man's Commerce Bank checking account to pay Comcast Cable, PECO Energy and Cavalier Telephone and credit card bills, according to court papers.

Antonelli admitted spending a total of $17,090.17 during the fraud scheme while working at the nursing home between Jan. 16, 2007 and Nov. 14, 2007.

"She took advantage of a patient in a nursing home," said Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Bob Sander, who heads up the DA's Economic Crimes unit.

An investigation into the fraudulent bank withdrawals discovered that the defendant opened a Capitol One and Credit One credit card accounts on the Internet using the patient's bank information.

One of the credit cards was opened in her daughter's name. The girl is a minor.

An investigation revealed that the woman paid Comcast with four fraudulent checks from a checking account she opened in her "boyfriend's name," James Brewer Jr., according to Sander.

Brewer's name also appears as a Capitol One accountholder. Besides paying her own bills, Antonelli also made payments to her boyfriend's PECO account, according to the affidavit.

Fraudulent Internet purchases were made to Uniform Unlimited, too, using the elderly man's checking account.

When investigators questioned the nursing assistant in April, she admitted stealing the patient's information to paying bills.

Antonelli, who is eight months pregnant, was arraigned and released on bail to await sentencing. Sander said she faces seven to 14 years in prison.

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