Cory Howard was living in North Carolina in 2011. While reviewing his credit report, he realized that an unknown person in the state of Florida had opened a Wells Fargo bank account using his personal information. After doing some investigating, Howard learned that the bank account was associated with a Tampa, Fla., address, and he contacted the Tampa Police Department for assistance.
A Tampa Police Department detective embarked on an investigation. Using ATM transaction videos and the address associated with the Wells Fargo bank account, she tracked down Howard's impersonator via a traffic stop. The driver, however, did not present a Florida driver's license bearing Howard's information. Instead, he presented a Florida license indicating that his name was Miguel Cruz. When the detective analyzed both licenses, the images on the licenses bearing both Cruz and Howard's name appeared to be the same person. The driver of the vehicle also appeared to be the same person in the ATM videos.
But was this individual really Cruz?
The detective didn't believe so, and that's why she reached out to Tampa's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents. HSI special agents are highly trained to identify document and benefit fraud.
"Our special agents didn't leave one stone unturned, searching immigration records and working with law enforcement entities in Jamaica and the U.S. Virgin Islands to identify the impersonator," said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge Sue McCormick.
After comparing arrest records and fingerprint samples, the HSI special agents determined that the impersonator was actually Lynval Thompson, a Jamaican national who was illegally residing in the United States.
On Friday, Thompson was sentenced to two years in federal prison and one year of supervised release for aggravated identity theft. He will be deported to Jamaica after he completes his prison sentence.
Learn more about document and benefit fraud.