Zig vs. Zag

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Have you ever zigged when you should have zagged? It implies that you made a bad decision or choice and you took the wrong ”fork in the road” so to speak. A story posted on News4Jax.com details the bad choices made by a Jacksonville woman, who took part in an identity theft scheme that was actually named ”Operation Zig Zag” by the Florida State Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. (It sounds like she had quite a posse after her.)

The article states that the 37-year-old woman was one of 17 people involved in the operation that crisscrossed the country leaving a wake of victims from Florida to New York. The woman stole personal identification information from her victims and then used the data to file fraudulent tax returns. (Court records state she profited approximately $135,000 from her illegal tax-related actions alone.)

Her criminal activities didn’t stop there. After filing fraudulent tax returns, she also opened up bogus bank accounts and credit cards in the names of her victims. In addition, the fraudster worked with co-conspirators to steal Social Security checks from the mail and then sold them on the black market. (She was quite industrious.)

After noticing suspicious activity regarding the IRS refund checks, a credit union blew the whistle by contacting authorities. A seven-month investigation ensued and at the time of her arrest, the woman was found with several fraudulent credit cards and detailed ledgers containing her victims’ personal information. (I bet the authorities were excited. There’s nothing like being caught red-handed with evidence.)

The woman pleaded guilty to identity theft and defrauding a financial institution. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison. (That sounds fair to me.)

Now that this criminal is facing the consequences of her actions, it’s a sure bet that she wishes she had made better choices. One thing is for certain, there will be no more zigging or zagging while in jail. (It’s a certainty she’ll be kept in line while serving out her time.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Woman Gets 12 Years for Tax Fraud Scheme,” published by News4Jax.com on July 9, 2014.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 37-year-old Jacksonville woman was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for her involvement in an identity theft scheme known as Operation Zig Zag.

In March, Latissha Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and defrauding a financial institution by schemes.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.