US Charges 104 in South Florida ID Theft-Fraud Roundup

Federal authorities have charged 104 people with numerous identity theft and fraud offenses in the latest South Florida crackdown on a rampant problem.

Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said at a news conference Tuesday that the charges involve fraud changing from filing false tax returns to takeovers of bank and credit card accounts to skimmers used to steal information at gas pumps.

"This is another very disturbing trend that we are seeing here in South Florida where a defendant takes someone's identity and their information and then they open up false unemployment or Social Security account on the names of these victims who have no idea that this is happening," Ferrer said.

The cases announced Tuesday involve intended theft of more than $60 million.

One employee at Miami's Jackson Health System is accused of stealing identities from 24,000 people using hospital computer databases.

Federal officials say South Florida remains the nation's epicenter for fraud linked to identity theft. Since 2012, Ferrer says more than 600 people have been charged with such crimes while trying to steal some $600 million.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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