St. Vincent De Paul, a Catholic charity in Florida that provides shelter and serves food for the area’s needy, feeding between 600 and 900 homeless people a day, has sparked a thorough state-wide review of charity organizations for potential identity theft and tax fraud issues. The organization learned of the fraud by a homeless man who had eaten a meal at one of the charity’s facilities in St. Petersburg had been the victim of both tax fraud and identity theft, and concluded something was wrong.
Identity theft is a common problem in Florida, as many elderly individuals are preyed upon in communities all across Florida. However, organized identity theft and fraud from charities and other databases of potential victims are becoming the concern for law enforcement.
Identity theft is the criminal act of taking another person’s identity, stepping into their shoes for the purpose of obtaining some sort of benefit, either from loan applications, credit cards from banks or retailers, stealing money from a person’s existing accounts, creating accounts with utility companies, leasing automobiles and residences, filing for bankruptcy, or even obtaining employment.
Most who steal other’s identities have one goal in mind: money. Most unfortunately do not keep a watchful eye on their records, leaving many to sometimes catastrophically suffer by a few keystrokes. The intent behind a single person may be present, however, many others may be blamed in the process of finding the actual perpetrator.
In the case of charities like St. Vincent De Paul, federal regulations require keeping records on clients, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. That data is shared among local social service providers, in part to prevent fraud. However, many people in Jacksonville identity fraud cases take advantage of their position of accessibility, causing some citizens to become victims of theft and sometimes the false accusation of being the perpetrator.
Some people have the ability to think incredibly analytically, giving them the opportunity to pull off large thefts unnoticed. However, in Jacksonville identity theft cases, that ability is sometimes used to frame others for the crime, either from leaving a trail of accessibility to one’s position at work , or leaving a trail of evidence on one’s computer of the fraud. Crimes like these may seem like major problems for not only one’s self, but for many other people.
If one has been accused of a crime such as this, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case. Remember, in the case of Jacksonville and other areas in and around North Florida, hundreds of people at local charity organizations had access to a database with personal information of tens of thousands of the region’s needy population a smart treasure for crafty identity thieves.
Remember, in cases involving multiple identity theft victims, after more than a few fraudulent transactions and tax returns later, the serial offender, or individual who gathers masses of information for use or sale, will be prosecuted on a much higher level than an individual that uses a person’s credit card once at a department store and gets caught.
One has one choice of relief in a situation like this. One charged with a crime of this nature should contact an experienced Jacksonville identity theft and tax fraud crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One can either sit back and wait for the Judge to render a decision against one, or one can take charge of one’s defense and win one’s cause for freedom.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Charities tighten data after thefts, The Tampa-Tribune