ID thefts of 49 cops lead to crime ring, feds say
The investigation began in March with the discovery that 49 Aventura police officers and six other people connected to the city government were victims of identity theft and tax fraud in the 2011 income tax season, authorities said.
On Tuesday, the inquiry led to six South Florida residents being indicted on charges they operated a major identity theft ring out of a Pompano Beach home on the 1200 block of Northeast Fifth Street.
The four men and two women are accused of using the money to do everything from make child support payments online to take vacations in Orlando and rent BMWs at Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami airports.
Brothers Jeffery McCarthy and Christopher McCarthy, their girlfriends Marysol Hernandez and Teresa Calderon, cousin Floyd Harper, and friend Brian Gamble, all in their 20s and 30s, face multiple counts of fraud and identity theft in federal court. They all deny the allegations.
The fraud involved filing unauthorized income tax returns on behalf of victims and opening lines of credit, investigators said.
According to court records filed by detectives, the Aventura Police Department discovered earlier this year that 49 police officers, a civilian employee of the department, a retiree, three other city workers and a spouse had all been victimized by tax fraud and identity theft in the prior year.
Detectives wrote in court records that they uncovered a link to the Pompano Beach home the McCarthy brothers shared and found that the Internet service at that address had been used to file about 432 tax returns in a two-week period in January.
Investigators also found that USAA Federal Savings Bank employees were conducting a separate fraud investigation regarding the same residence related to about $2 million in lines of credit opened using victims’ names and variations of the same Pompano Beach address. The six were arrested last month.
235 Apollo Beach Blvd #507
Apollo Beach, FL 33572