“This guy’s a professional”
Whoever was committing the fraud knew what they were doing, according to an identity-theft expert. That’s because the person only duplicated and forged people’s information if they had good credit and no history of criminal activity.
Bank records and receipts in Simmons’ name show criminal-background checks were conducted on people whose identities were stolen. If the victims had no criminal history, their identities were put in envelopes with handwriting saying: “Great! Nothing! Clean!”
Take a look at the news story:
When Brandon Michael rolled up a storage-unit door in Denver on New Year’s Day to sort through the contents he had just purchased at an auction, the young man expected to find the usual items he could later sell on Craigslist or eBay: tools, laptops and furniture.
Instead, Michael discovered boxes, filing cabinets and trash bags full of hundreds of U.S. passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and other documents – most stolen within the past two years.
He found St. Anthony Central Hospital records containing dates of birth, Social Security numbers and copies of the driver’s licenses of 150 patients who had been admitted into the emergency room or general surgery.
He found drug paraphernalia,
Among the evidence were piles of documents that all had people’s personal information and stacks of stolen IDs, pills and the printer used to make counterfeit documents.
“That’s not right that somebody has all this stuff,” Michael said.
“It’s the mother lode of identity theft,” said Sgt. Ryan McGinty of the Denver police check fraud and forgery unit.
Michael’s discovery has prompted investigations by Denver police, Centura Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
Shocked and worried about having the documents and drugs, Michael packed it all up and drove straight to the Police Department. But he says the officer at the front desk told him police weren’t interested and said he should throw it in the trash.
“I told him I had driver’s licenses, fake IDs, drug paraphernalia and everything. And he wanted a citizen to be back out on the streets with all this stuff and go find a Dumpster for it,” Michael said.
Instead of trashing the evidence, Michael delivered it to 9News.
The interesting quote from someone in this news story is where the man says “You just expect the hospital to be like the bank.” He’s referring to how he believes that the bank is a safe place for your information.
It’s not, but it’s interesting that the man’s statement shows that he thinks it is.
The other interesting thing from this story is the idea that you could steal two people’s identities, writing checks out of the first person’s accounts and using the second person’s information to cash the checks.
All in all, this story relatively unremarkable.
The thing that makes this story different is that the police (who are overburdened as it is, dealing with things like rape, murder, and drugs) turned down the box of evidence.
The police work very hard, and unfortunately, sometimes Identity Theft takes a backburner to other more violent or pressingly urgent types of crime.
But congratulations are in order to Brandon Michael, the guy who bought the contents in an auction, and did the right thing by:
- Not using the ID’s himself
- Not selling the ID’s – which he could have
- Attempting to turn the evidence over to police
- Pushing the issue with the media until it got results
And to 9News who took the story and recognized it, pushing the story so that those in the police department with the authority and knowledge to do something about it actually now can do what needs to be done.
No doubt someone will be prosecuted in this case, and it looks like the guy from the story is the guy who’s going to get caught, because he was dumb or forgetful enough to leave the stuff in a storage unit.
Not too bright.
There are, also unfortunately, Identity Thieves who are much smarter than he is.
Read the full Denver Post Article here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_11595823