Identity Theft has become a most serious problem throughout the United States. A prime example of what can happen when a person’s identity is stolen involved a recent Alabama case. In that case, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced Angeline Austin of Montgomery to 65 months in federal prison for stealing the identities of hundreds of persons by accessing a Troy Hospital database. One of the victims was Zane Purdy, a National Guard major, who was earning more than $100,000 a year working for a defense contracting company. Major Purdy’s identity was stolen by Ms. Austin and sold to a tax fraud ring. Now Major Purdy makes $7.25 an hour at a Krystal Restaurant in Trussville, Ala. to support his wife and two children.
The identity theft has left Major Purdy thousands of dollars in debt and fighting to clear his credit report. His job with General Dynamics Information Technology required a top secret security clearance. This is something Major Purdy could not maintain as the theft of his identity had destroyed his credit. His security clearance was suspended. He lost his job with General Dynamics and he is also blocked from active duty with the Air National Guard while his security clearance is suspended.
Ms. Austin worked for Southern Records Management at Troy Regional Medical Center during parts of 2010 and 2011. The job gave her access to the personal information of current and former patients, including names, social security numbers and dates of birth. Ms. Austin stole the personal information of more than 800 patients and sold that information to the tax fraud ring. The identities were used to file fraudulent tax returns and collect false tax refunds. The stolen identity ring was responsible for the theft of about $1.6 million in taxpayer money according to governmental officials.
Major Purdy found out in early 2012 from the U.S. Attorney’s office that some person had gained access to his personal information. He then received notice from the IRS that he owed more than $10,000. Tax liens were also filed against his property. The U.S. Attorney’s office and IRS agents are helping Major Purdy clear his reputation. But it will be a long struggle. According to reports, the criminal case involved numerous people. Identities had been stolen from Montgomery high schools and other hospitals in both Montgomery and Atlanta.
Source: Montgomery Advertiser
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