Identity theft occurs when a fraudster uses another person’s identity to gain unauthorized access to their financial information. As you know, fraudsters will employ a variety of schemes to collect personally identifiable information from unsuspecting victims. Today’s case is about two Sacramento women who recently pleaded guilty for their involvement in an identity theft scheme that centered around a Rancho Cordova veterinary clinic. (Fortunately, no animals were harmed in this scheme.)
Marie Antoinette Alcanter and her co-defendant, Rose Marie Segale, both worked at a veterinary clinic in Sacramento. They abused their positions to obtain personal and financial information from the clinic’s customers. (Perhaps Marie’s name provides some foreshadowing in this fraud case.)
Segale also worked as a pet sitter and used that experience as an opportunity to find additional victims. She would provide the victims’ personal information to Alcanter, who would then use the stolen identities to gain access to the victims’ financial accounts. (When was the last time you updated your bank account security questions?)
The duo would also use the victims’ identities to open new bank accounts in their names and make extravagant purchases. Alcanter and Segale were able to fraudulently obtain over $46,000 in purchased items and cash withdrawals by using their victims’ financial information. (I think it would take a few more zeros to convince me to risk being sentenced to prison time. And then, I’d still say “forget it.”)
Alcanter was also in possession of multiple counterfeit driver’s licenses. The licenses were created using her photograph and the names and addresses of identity theft victims. She was able to use the counterfeit licenses to verify her identity when withdrawing money from her victims’ bank accounts.
A judge sentenced Alcanter to four-and-half years in prison for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft as a result of her role in the veterinary clinic scheme. (At least the judge didn’t say, “Off with her head!”)
If you suspect someone of stealing your identity, you should immediately contact your financial institution and place a freeze on your account. You can report identity theft fraud through the Federal Trade Commission’s online form, which will put you in contact with representatives who cab help you devise an identity recovery plan. For more information on the steps you should take in the event of identity theft please visit IdentityTheft.gov.
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Sacramento Woman Gets 4.5 Years In Rancho Cordova Veterinary Clinic Identity Theft Scheme,” posted by MSN.com on September 25, 2020.
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento woman was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for an identity theft scheme involving a Rancho Cordova veterinary clinic, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced on Thursday.
Marie Antoinette Alcanter, 48, worked with her co-defendant, San Jose resident Rose Marie Segale, 42, formerly of Sacramento, to obtain the clinic’s customers’ personal and financial information.