Identity Disorder

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Identity theft is such as personal violation, but it becomes even more personal when someone steals from your house and your mailbox to get your information. A report by Lake Elsinore-Wilodmar Patch details how a 32-year-old California woman was caught stealing the identities of as many as 97 different victims by taking mail, packages and other personal items from her victims’ homes. (Some people wish to ”reinvent” themselves during different stages of their lives, but 97 times seems a little excessive.)

The thief used the contents of the stolen items to steal the owners’ identities and make fraudulent charges to their credit cards. Less than two months after her crime spree began, she was picked up by authorities as she was taking stolen packages from a postal outlet. At the time, she had already been convicted of a felony related to drug possession, along with a series of misdemeanor convictions for shoplifting and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Despite the suspicion that she was responsible for victimizing almost 100 people, the California culprit was only charged with 20 counts of identity theft against nine victims, and she faced the possibility of a two-year prison sentence. Ultimately, she took a plea deal for one count of identity theft and was sentenced to sixteen months of mandatory supervision, a higher level of probation assigned to certain convicts, who are spared from prison because of their non-violent criminal status (an option under the state’s Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011.)

Identity theft may be considered a non-violent crime, but cleaning up the mess created by having your identity stolen is complicated, stressful and sometimes results in long-term financial complications. Despite the fact that this scammer avoided the slammer this time, she’ll have to learn to live with just one identity from now on.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Felon Who Stole Mail to Perpetrate ID Theft Scam Sentenced,” written by Renee Schiavone and published by Lake Elsinore-Wilodmar Patch on March 2, 2016.

Ashley Lane Rascon of Corona admitted last month to one count of identity theft under a plea agreement negotiated between the prosecution and defense. In exchange for her admission, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped 19 other ID theft counts against her.

Rascon had been expected to receive a two-year jail sentence, but Superior Court Judge Richard Fields decided instead to impose mandatory supervision in lieu of jail.

Mandatory supervision is a higher level of probation that enables authorities to free up jail space by keeping so-called ”non-violent” offenders out of the system. It’s one of several options the Legislature established under the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, which shifted many former state responsibilities onto localities.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, Rascon engaged in a series of thefts that began in mid-November.

Rascon stole mail and other items from residences throughout south Corona and the Temescal Valley, using information gleaned from the contents to commit identity theft and make purchases on victims’ credit, Brosche said.

Investigators suspected there were as many as 97 possible victims, Brosche said. However, Rascon was charged with victimizing nine.

The 32-year-old Rascon was arrested on Jan. 22 ”as she was picking up stolen packages at a postal store,” Brosche said.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.