Zig vs. Zag

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Have you ever zigged when you should have zagged? It implies that you made a bad decision or choice and you took the wrong ”fork in the road” so to speak. A story posted on News4Jax.com details the bad choices made by a Jacksonville woman, who took part in an identity theft scheme that was actually named ”Operation Zig Zag” by the Florida State Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. (It sounds like she had quite a posse after her.)

The article states that the 37-year-old woman was one of 17 people involved in the operation that crisscrossed the country leaving a wake of victims from Florida to New York. The woman stole personal identification information from her victims and then used the data to file fraudulent tax returns. (Court records state she profited approximately $135,000 from her illegal tax-related actions alone.)

Her criminal activities didn’t stop there. After filing fraudulent tax returns, she also opened up bogus bank accounts and credit cards in the names of her victims. In addition, the fraudster worked with co-conspirators to steal Social Security checks from the mail and then sold them on the black market. (She was quite industrious.)

After noticing suspicious activity regarding the IRS refund checks, a credit union blew the whistle by contacting authorities. A seven-month investigation ensued and at the time of her arrest, the woman was found with several fraudulent credit cards and detailed ledgers containing her victims’ personal information. (I bet the authorities were excited. There’s nothing like being caught red-handed with evidence.)

The woman pleaded guilty to identity theft and defrauding a financial institution. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison. (That sounds fair to me.)

Now that this criminal is facing the consequences of her actions, it’s a sure bet that she wishes she had made better choices. One thing is for certain, there will be no more zigging or zagging while in jail. (It’s a certainty she’ll be kept in line while serving out her time.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Woman Gets 12 Years for Tax Fraud Scheme,” published by News4Jax.com on July 9, 2014.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 37-year-old Jacksonville woman was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for her involvement in an identity theft scheme known as Operation Zig Zag.

In March, Latissha Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and defrauding a financial institution by schemes.

 

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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.