Quartz, An IRS Employee Stole Identities and Went on a 2-Year Spending Spree:
An IRS employee stole multiple people’s identities, and used them to open illicit credit cards to fund vacations and shop for shoes and other goods, according to a complaint unsealed last week in federal court.
The complaint accuses the 35-year-old federal worker of racking up almost $70,000 in charges over the course of two years, illegally using “the true names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers” of at least three people. ...
The IRS employee’s alleged scheme took place between January 2016 and February 2018, according to court filings. Investigators say he used a fraudulently obtained American Express card to fly to Sacramento and Miami Beach. He also used the card for some 37 Uber rides, nine payments on his father’s Amazon account totaling $1,200, various purchases at Lowe’s, the Designer Shoe Warehouse, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and a flooring outlet, as well as a $7,400 payment to a business he owned.
The complaint says the employee, who works for the tax agency as a software developer, obtained a second fraudulent credit card, which he used to fly to Montego Bay, Jamaica. A third fraudulent card was used to travel to Iceland. In a particularly brazen move, investigators say the suspect linked this card to a phony PayPal account he opened using his official IRS email address. ...
“It’s pretty easy to do something like this if you have such unfettered access to other people’s [personal data],” Cedric Leighton, a 26-year US Air Force intelligence officer and an expert on insider threats, told Quartz. “But it’s also easy for [the inspector general] and other law enforcement agencies to catch a rogue insider like this.”
Leighton, who served as a deputy director of the National Security Agency, said the case “highlights the need for agencies like the IRS to tighten controls” over taxpayer data. “They also need to do a better job of monitoring employee email traffic because it certainly contained clues that this IRS employee had gone rogue,” he said.