Photo Credit: William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News, via Associated Press
Five individuals have been indicted in an identity theft scheme that was targeted at US military veterans, many of which who were disabled. John F. Bash, United States Attorney of the Western District of Texas, says, “To our knowledge, this is the largest criminal case ever involving military affiliated personnel.” Millions stolen from military veterans in identity theft scheme.
How did the theft happen?
Social Security numbers and bank account information of veterans were stolen at a US Army base in South Korea by secretly photographing a computer screen. This personal information was used to redirect payments made to vets which included disability benefits.
More than 3,000 former or current military personnel had their information compromised between 2014 and 2019. The actual number of identity theft victims and the total amount of stolen money is still unclear.
In an attempt to launder the money so that it could not be traced, the stolen cash was wired to the accounts of “money mules”. In spite of this, the nefarious actions of these criminals were uncovered, and the culprits were identified. Trorice Crawford, Fredrick Brown, Jongmin Seok, Robert Wayne Boling Jr. and Allan Albert Kerr have been indicted on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The accused are all in custody with arraignment expected next week.
What if I am possibly a victim?
Currently, Veterans Affairs and the Justice Department are notifying victims and assisting in recovering lost funds. If you are concerned about possibly being a victim, here are some steps you should take:
- Before you do anything, you should sign up with an identity theft restoration service. If you do this prior to discovering you are a victim of identity theft, this company will do all of the work to restore your identity.
- Go back through your statements from financial institutions and look for any fraudulent activity. The thefts began in 2014, so you should start there.
- Keep an eye on your credit report.