Inmates Targeted for Identity Theft

People convicted of committing crimes can also be victims themselves. These recent cases show that inmates are vulnerable to ID theft, too.

Jail worker accused of stealing inmate IDs

A Florida jail worker stands accused of stealing inmate identities and giving them to accomplices who filed bogus tax returns, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Authorities say Lori Ann Dilworth and alleged accomplices Shantrell Stephenson and Richard Mitchell ran ID theft and tax fraud scams involving inmate identities for three years. Dilworth worked at the Orange County Jail and is accused of passing personally identifyable information of inmates to Mitchell and Stephenson.

Between January 2010 and February 2013 the IRS paid out more than $200,000 for what it claims are fraudulent returns. The trio allegedly had the tax returns deposited onto prepaid debit cards sent to several different Central Florida addresses.

If convicted, the three defendants each face up to 10 years in prison for each count of conspiracy, an additional five years for each false tax return filed and a minimum of two years for identity theft.

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Former prison employee charged in tax scam

Mississippi corrections officials are investigating a possible identity theft scheme that targeted its inmates, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

Shannon A. Brumfield, a former lieutenant for the Hinds County Detention Center in Mississippi, was indicted for allegedly taking a list of prisoner Social Security numbers she obtained at work and sharing them with other prisoners. Police think those numbers were then shared with identity thieves on the outside.

Authorities say Brumfield and other members of the alleged conspiracy used stolen IDs to file 22 false tax returns and had tax refunds sent to post office boxes in Louisiana.

The indictment charges her with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 11 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of aggravated identity theft.

If convicted, Brumfield faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy and mail fraud charges, plus a minimum of two additional years for aggravated identity theft.

Corrections officer sentenced to four years for ID theft

A Florida corrections officer was sentenced to more than four years in prison for stealing dozens of inmates' identities and using them to score more than $100,000 in fraudulent tax refunds, First Coast News reports.

Harold Walbey III pleaded guilty to using the IDs of 49 inmates at the John E. Goode pre-trial detention facility to file phony tax returns.

Prosecutors say Walbey was able to get more than $110,000 from the IRS and will have to repay it as part of his sentence.

Inmate's wife arrested for tax and ID scam

The wife of an Ohio inmate was charged for her alleged role in an ID theft scheme that victimized dozens, including her husband's fellow inmates, according to the Norwalk Reflector.

Roma L. Sims is serving an eight-year prison term for a $3.5 million tax and ID theft scam. His wife Kelly L. Sims and an alleged co-conspirator are now accused of using stolen identities—including some of her husband's fellow inmates— to file around 30 bogus tax returns.

Police say another alleged co-conspirator was reportedly held for ransom at Mrs. Sims' apartment over a dispute about turning over money. Additionally, Mrs. Sims is accused of using the identities of children from another state as dependents on bogus tax returns. IRS investigators say the children's families had returns rejected because the children were already claimed as dependents on the false returns.

Mrs. Sims and her husband's phone calls were recorded by the prison, and authorities say the calls include references to the IRS and to the kidnapping of the alleged co-conspirator. Mrs. Sims also allegedly discussed stabbing or shooting her brother over a financial dispute.

The IRS discovered the alleged fraud because the names of cities such as Pittsburgh and Louisville were misspelled on tax returns.

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