Lying in Wait

35905365 - computer hacker stealing data from a laptop concept for network security, identity theft and computer crime

In 2017, 16.7 million people were impacted by identity theft, proving that it can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, profession or income level. Even though identity theft can be a very annoying experience that endangers credit reports, very rarely does identity theft fraud endanger lives. Unfortunately, today’s identity theft fraud victim from Long Beach, California not only had his identity stolen, but he also lost his life when he entered into a business arrangement with an identity thief.

A ripoff artist from Riverside, California spent months winning the trust of young adults who had less than stellar credit histories. He offered these willing individuals an opportunity to invest in his auto loan business to help improve their credit records. (Keep in mind that the best way to improve a credit record is to simply pay off the debt as fast as possible.) Unfortunately, today’s victim fell prey to the $600,000 scam along with three others, but only one lost his life as a result.

The identity thief used the stolen personal information of his four victims to acquire credit cards, auto loans and other financial resources for himself. He also leased several apartments for his girlfriend at the expense of these unfortunate individuals. When the identify thief was questioned by investigators from the Sheriff’s office and law enforcement agencies, he most likely figured that one of his four victims were to blame. (The article states that a 21-year-old Long Beach man wanted to be reimbursed for his losses. He became the identity thief’s target for elimination.)

The identity thief agreed to meet the 21-year-old victim in the vicinity of Corona to talk about financial restitution. The identity thief was driven by his personal assistant to the agreed-upon location at 2 a.m. (Nothing good ever happens after midnight.) The young man hoping for reimbursement was met by the identity thief and his 9 mm pistol. The article explains that when the victim reached into his pocket for a cigarette lighter, the identity thief shot him twice in the head and left him on the shoulder of the road to die.

Fortunately, there was a witness to the crime – the identity thief’s personal assistant who drove him to the scene of the crime. The next day, the identity thief was arrested at his five-bedroom home within a gated community of Riverside. (His fortress was not enough to protect this criminal from his heinous crime.)

A jury convicted the 37-year-old Riverside scammer of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait. (This perpetrator purposely planned to attack the young man who did not suspect he would lose his life in this $600,000 identity theft fraud scheme gone wrong.) He was also convicted on 28 other charges including grand theft, money laundering, forgery and identity theft. The criminal was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is also required to pay $548,500 in restitution to four financial institutions that lost money in the defendant’s scam and an undetermined amount to the victim’s family. (While the amount of restitution seems fair, there is no amount of money that could ever compensate for the loss of a loved one.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Life in prison ordered for man who killed Long Beach ID theft victim in Corona,” published by The Press-Enterprise on May 18, 2019.  

RIVERSIDE — A ripoff artist from Riverside who killed a 21-year-old man in Corona after fraudulently using his personal information in a $600,000 scam was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A Riverside jury in March convicted 37-year-old Dante Danil Carter of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Eric Burniston of Long Beach.

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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.