Within the last decade, reports of and stories related to identity theft have become common. Today, law enforcement investigators have developed sophisticated means of identifying and tracking the actions of individuals believed to be involved in identity theft and fraud cases.
ID theft and fraud operations are also becoming increasingly complex and intricate and often include multiple parties. A 2009 case known as Operation Starburst, culminated in 2012 with federal investigators determining the activities of those involved resulted in the loss of some $50 million dollars. Just this week, seven Minneapolis area residents who police believe were previously linked to the fallen Operation Starburst, were “indicted on federal fraud charges.”
According to legal documents, authorities believe the four men and three women were part of a group that carried out acts of ID theft and fraud throughout Minnesota. Investigators contend the group’s alleged criminal activities resulted in a loss exceeding $1 million for banks, drug stores and gas stations throughout the state.
The federal fraud charges relate to assertions that the seven individuals stole the birth certificates and social security numbers of numerous individuals to create fraudulent documents that were then used to open bank accounts and withdraw funds. Items seized at the home of one of the men arrested included credit cards, Social Security cards, personal identifying documents and passport photos.
Individuals who face criminal charges related to ID theft and fraud or other white collar criminal activity, would be wise to exercise their Fifth Amendment rights and secure a criminal defense attorney. In these types of cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual knowing participated in carrying out criminal acts.
Source: StarTribune, “7 Minnesotans indicted as a fraud ring that stole $1M,” Paul Mcenroe, June 19, 2014