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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

The Family That Preys Together: Using Identity Theft, One Family Steals a Fortune

A family business not only binds a clan together, it provides financial security for generations if done successfully. Some business models are better than others for families that are looking to incorporate loved ones in matters of money. While a legitimate business venture may be a boon to a whole clans fiscal outlook, a less than legal opportunity to make some quick cash can land a family in financial and criminal turmoil.

They recruited those closest to them for the crime
One Alabama family thought that by scamming the U.S. Government through tax fraud, they could secure millions for three separate households. The Murrays, the Moseses and the Temples were all in-laws that had separate careers and businesses that provided for each one of their households, but they still wanted to build up the whole group's savings.

The whole family was in the perfect position for fraud
The matriarchs of the clan conspired with their husbands to obtain other people's personal information, like Social Security numbers, through a variety of means to claim their tax refunds. The family owned both a Weaving company and a tax service, each one having a host of clients on file with birth dates and tax information that would make stealing identities a cinch.

Between 2006 and 2012, the co-conspirators directed more than 700 tax refunds into 10 different bank accounts. In all, they scammed the government, and their victims, of more than $1.3 million.

After a long string of success, the government figures out the scam
Despite the length of the con, the family was eventually caught by the federal government in October 2012 and charged with a 33-count indictment, including identity fraud and a litany of other serious violations.

The family members all pleaded guilty to the charges, having admittedly taken advantage of trusted clients and family friends. Had these victims been enrolled in a credit monitoring service, they may have been alerted to the strange activity on their credit report before this family had a chance to cause so much damage.