ID-Theft Ring Victimized Bernanke

Thieves used pickpocketed IDs, checkbooks for fraud
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 2:55 PM CDT
ID-Theft Ring Victimized Bernanke
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in Oak Bluffs, Mass., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – No less a public figure than the chairman of the Federal Reserve was one of 500 individuals victimized by an identity-theft ring that combined technologically sophisticated methods with old-fashioned thievery to bilk $2.1 million from consumers and financial institutions, Newsweek reports. The ringleader of the group, Clyde Austin Gray Jr.—aka “Big Head"—pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

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Anna Bernanke, Ben’s wife, fell victim when her purse was stolen off a chair at a Washington Starbucks. But the thief, a henchman of Big Head, wasn’t out for cash: he stole the Bernankes' joint checkbook for an elaborate false-deposit scheme that resulted in the theft of $9,000 in cash from a Maryland Wachovia branch. Big Head's ring used other purse-snatchings, especially at sporting events, to create false driver's licenses and go on credit-card spending sprees.
(Read more identity theft stories.)

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