Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Incident: Theft of banking information from Arizona county clerk and state agency

A group of accused fraudsters have been arrested in Arizona for allegedly taking bank account information from, among other places, the court clerk's office, making fake cheques and cashing them all over town. Police found drugs and a gila monster in houses searched as part of the investigation. We've heard before about the fraud/methamphetamine connection, but this is the first fraud/large lizard link I've seen:

Officials break up ID-theft racket 6 held in scheme that took bank data from 2 agencies - Yahoo! News:

"... The group stole bank-account information from the Clerk of Pima County Superior Court, the Arizona Department of Economic Security and five people, created counterfeit checks using a computer and cashed at least $20,000 at Sahuarita-area stores, said Detective Pat Willson of the Sheriff's Department fraud division.

She wouldn't say how they stole the account numbers or how they spent the money.

Willson said the investigation into 'extensive fraud activity' turned up methamphetamine and marijuana in three houses authorities searched, in the 700 block of East Linden Street north of Downtown; in the 200 block of West Duval Road in Green Valley; and in the 1300 block of West Calle Del Ensayador in Sahuarita. Officers also found a Gila monster in the house on Linden.

The investigation began with three or four suspects and a victim, but the detectives noticed similarities in other cases and broadened the scope of the case, said John Cotsonas, a special investigator with the Sahuarita Police Department...."

Though the term "ID theft" is used, this looks like basic fraud since there isn't a suggestion that the alleged fraudsters impersonated anybody or obtained credit using someone else's identity.

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