Identity Theft Victims: Who’s Your Daddy?

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Sometimes the identity thief isn’t just hacked into your computer but is actually hooked into your family circle. Sometimes it’s even dear old Dad, or Grandpa. Find out about this father who will be winning no awards this Father’s Day.

Every stolen identity isn’t stolen by a teen Russian mafia gang, a bored cyber geek or a desperate Pizza Hut cash register employee. Sometimes identity theft happens really close to home. Sometimes the identity thief isn’t just hacked into your computer but is actually hooked into your family circle. Sometimes it’s even dear old Dad, or Grandpa.
Paul L. Kelly, who was formerly an Eau Claire County, Wisconsin district attorney, is now a convicted felon. Kelly was convicted of 35 out of 43 charges including identity theft, fraud and forgery. These were all charges in which his daughter, Kori Kelly, was the victim. More charges are pending on identity theft crimes against his grandson.
Paul Kelly’s Identity Theft Crimes
-Forged a Power of Attorney for his daughter.
-Purchased a $7,500 car in his daughter’s name.
-Purchased a $7,200 conversion van in his daughter’s name.
-Took out a $128,000 mortgage in his daughter’s name.
-Then he filed bankruptcy on his daughter’s behalf.
Additional alleged crimes against his grandson, who was eight years old at the time, include using his grandson’s social security number on a land loan application. Again, Kelly claimed to have power of attorney for his grandson, however, he claimed that his grandson was a 25 year-old construction worker. Kelly sweetened the fraud by bringing along forged W2 forms and a man posing as his grandson. The loan was ultimately denied because the man accompanying Kelly could never produce a picture I.D..
The number of counts of identity theft, fraud and forgery are so high because Kelly was charged with one count for each and every document forged in his efforts to acquire fraudulent loans.
Paul L. Kelly has a history of shady behavior. After acting as a district attorney from 1965 to 1968 Kelly was disbarred under accusations including:
-unprofessional conduct
-misusing clients funds
-filing false reports
-refusing to cooperate with an investigation
Kelly, who has also worked in private practice, chose to represent himself in these cases although his license was revoked in 1982 and has never been reinstated.
Presiding Barron County Judge James Babbit is ordering a pre-sentencing investigation and describes the Kelly case as “uniquely different.”
How common is family identity theft?
According to a study called the “The Aftermath: 2007” by the Identity Theft Resource Center, in cases of child identity theft, over 50% of the time the identity theft crimes were perpetrated by a parent or step parent and another 18% of he cases were perpetrated by another family member. In 52% of the cases of family identity theft the victim claimed that the family member was an addict.
One survey respondent shared her desperation and frustration following being a victim of family identity theft:
“ID theft nearly ruined my life. The police will do nothing because he was my husband. I am still reeling from the financial losses. I lost my house, my savings and those of my children, good credit record, and my marriage. He should be in jail but no one does anything as he continues to approach others to victimize them!”
Victims of identity theft face many obstacles and emotions but when identity theft is committed by a family member, victims face additional hardships such as torn family relationships, lack of support for filing charges by all family members and family members who urge the victim to drop charges.
The Identity Theft Resource Center survey and the case of identity theft by former district attorney, father and grandfather, Paul L. Kelly reminds us that often we need to protect ourselves not just in the forest but in the family tree as well.