With high unemployment rates, lowered salaries for those who have a job and millions of homes underwater, families and individuals across the nation find themselves under severe financial stress, including those in Wisconsin. Financial problems are one of the major factors that can push an individual to makes mistakes.
Despite the recessed economy, gas prices have continued to rise. FBI officials claim that gas theft is on the rise and that individuals are using identity theft to obtain the gas. In fact, four individuals were arrested this month in relation to an alleged identity theft scheme in which fraudulent credit cards were used at several gas stations.
FBI agents filed a complaint that detailed the alleged scheme. According to the complaint, the four individuals would use the fraudulent credit cards to pump gas into vehicles with large gas tanks. They would then transfer the fuel into a larger holding tank. Once it was filled, the gas would be sold, distributed or used.
The arrests came after the execution of 14 search warrants on Aug. 16. The FBI teamed up with several local and federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. The individuals were charged in a federal court and could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Identity theft charges are not ones to be taken lightly, and an individual may not even know that they are being targeted in an investigation by federal agencies with unlimited resources. Those that even suspect that they could be charged with identity theft have the right to seek the assistance of an attorney at any moment.
Source: Ventura County Star, "Oxnard pair charged in fuel theft scheme," Aug. 17, 2012
If you think that you could become the subject of a federal investigation, our Milwaukee White Collar Crime page provides information about your options.