No one is safe from identity theft, not even the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Ben Bernanke’s personal checking account became entangled in an elaborate identity-theft scheme after his wife Anna’s purse was stolen last August. According to a District of Columbia police report, it contained her social security card, checkbook, credit cards and IDs.
It’s not been revealed how much money was taken, but someone started cashing checks on the Bernankes’ bank account just days after the purse was snatched from her chair in a coffee shop.
The thefts helped fuel an ongoing investigation into a sophisticated ring responsible for more than $2.1 million in losses and involving at least 10 financial institutions, court documents said. A suspected ringleader, Clyde Austin Gray Jr of Waldorf, Maryland, and another man have pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Virginia, federal court and are scheduled for sentencing next month.
At least one check from the Bernanke account for $900 was deposited August 13, 2008, into the account of another identity theft victim at a Bank of America branch in suburban Maryland, according to an affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court. Authorities alleged that George L Reid, 41, of Washington, cashed checks that day amounting to at least $9,000 in a string of transactions after the fake deposits inflated the related account balances.
“Identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans each year,” Bernanke said in a statement. “Our family was but one of 500 separate instances traced to one crime ring. I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who patiently and diligently work to solve and prevent these financial crimes.”