Identity thieves don't discriminate when it comes to their targets. Schools haven't been immune to this criminal epidemic. Here are recent cases where students and workers alike were victimized.
High School Band Director Charged With ID Theft
Delvis Rogers pleaded guilty to identity theft and other related charges. Investigators say the charges stem from Rogers' time at Plantation High School as assistant band director, though he later went on to be band director at another school.
Authorities say they noticed Rogers' address on more than 400 bogus tax returns claiming about $754,000 in refunds. A search of his apartment yielded thousands of stolen identities, including some from former students.
Churches and Schools Hit in $6.6M ID Theft Scheme
Five people from Georgia are accused of perpetrating a nationwide identity theft scheme involving more than 980 fake tax returns seeking $6.6 million in refunds, according to KGW.com.
The 125,000 victims were in several states, but the common thread among Oregon victims was that many had undergone background checks to work in schools or the Catholic Church. Authorities believe the company that ran the checks suffered a data breach. The Portland Archdiocese was among the victims, with someone already filing taxes on its behalf and claiming the refund.
Suspects Lateef Animawun, Oluwatobi Dehinbo, Oluwaseunara Osanyinbi and Oluwamuyiwa Olawoye were arrested and an arrest warrant was also issued for a fifth suspect named Emmanuel Kazeem, in Maryland. They will be arraigned in Oregon.
The IRS rejected $4.6 million in refunds, the defendants allegedly obtained $2 million in illegal refunds in the scheme.
All were charged with conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. They face up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Florida Students Targeted by Alleged ID Thieves
Two men in Florida were arrested in connection with an identity theft scheme that targeted public school students and others, the Miami Herald reports.
Rigo Octavio López and Luis Daniel López were accused of filing 494 false tax returns for more than $237,000 using the stolen identities. The IRS paid out nearly $50,000 of those claims.
IRS and U.S. Secret Service agents raided the home where the suspects allegedly prepared the fraudulent returns. Agents found documents, computer drives and a spiral notebook that contained personal data for individuals including public school students.
The defendants' trial is set for June.
Former District Employee Accused of Stealing From Teachers
A former school district employee in Arizona is accused of breaking into classrooms at two elementary schools and stealing cash and credit cards from teachers, according to ABC 15.
Michael Shane Hererra allegedly used his knowledge as an ex-district employee to get past security protocol and steal from unattended teachers' purses. Authorities say several stores have video footage of Hererra using stolen cards for purchases.
Hererra is being held on suspicion of burglary, theft, identity theft and multiple charges of using a stolen credit card.