By Kim Zetter
April 8, 2010
A group of sophisticated identity thieves managed to steal more than $4
million by filing bogus tax returns using the names and Social Security
numbers of other people, many of them deceased, according to a 74-count
indictment unsealed in Arizona Thursday.
The thieves operated their scheme for at least three years from January
2005 to April 2008, allegedly filing more than 1,900 fraudulent tax
returns involving about $4 million in refunds directed to more than 170
bank accounts. The conspirators used numerous fake IDs to open internet
and phone accounts and also used more than 175 different IP addresses
around the U.S. to file the fake returns, which were often filed in bulk
as if through an automated process.
According to authorities a 29-year-old California self-described hacker
named Daniel David Rigmaiden, aka Steven Travis Brawner, was the
ringleader of the group, who conspired with Ransom Marion Carter, III,
43 of Arizona and at least one other conspirator who was arrested in
Utah 2008 and has not been identified in court records.
Rigmaiden has been in custody since May 2008, but Carter is still at
large. The two are charged with 35 counts of wire fraud, 35 counts of
identify theft, one count of unauthorized computer access, and two
counts of mail fraud. Authorities are also seeking a monetary judgment
in the amount of $5.5 million.
Register now for HITBSecConf2010 - Dubai, the premier
deep-knowledge network security event in the GCC,
featuring keynote speakers John Viega and Matt Watchinski!