Identity Theft Working Group Increases Federal Prosecutions
Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center to Assist Victims
Baltimore, Maryland - United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein joined representatives of law enforcement agencies and the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center (MCVRC) today to review federal progress in fighting identity fraud and announce the Center’s plan to assist victims of identity theft and financial fraud under a $500,000 grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
“Federal identity fraud prosecutions continue to increase thanks to the Identity Theft Working Group, which was created in October 2006,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Representatives of federal investigative agencies, state and local law enforcement, federal and state prosecutors, and fraud investigators working for financial institutions meet every other month to review cases, discuss new trends and strategies to combat identity fraud. We welcome the assistance of the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center. ”
“Identify theft not only victimizes the individuals whose identity is stolen, but it can also pose a public safety and national security risk.” said James A. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Baltimore. “It is imperative that law enforcement know the true identity of the individuals they encounter while protecting our communities.”
Russell P. Butler, Executive Director of MCVRC, discussed the Center’s plans for the grant funds today at a special training meeting of the Maryland Identity Theft Working Group, hosted by the United States Attorney’s office. According to Mr. Butler, the MCVRC plans to use the funds to directly assist victims of identity theft and financial fraud by: providing direct services to victims; facilitating self-advocacy by victims and encouraging pro bono attorney assistance of victims; and assisting law enforcement in their investigation of these cases and treatment of the victims.
Law enforcement officers and financial investigators from around the state and region met today to discuss a variety of identity theft-related topics ranging from the connection between terrorism and identity theft, to the latest in financial fraud schemes. Speakers from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Justice Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section, the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement shared the latest information on how to investigate, prevent and combat identity theft and assist victims.
The Maryland Identity Theft Working Group was created in October, 2006 to coordinate and promote the investigation and prosecution of identity theft cases in Maryland. Comprised of representatives of federal investigative agencies, state and local law enforcement, federal and state prosecutors, and fraud investigators for financial institutions doing business in Maryland, the Identity Theft Working Group meets regularly six times a year. Its members review cases, discuss new trends and developments in identity theft-related crimes, identify common targets, disseminate information and resources, and generally coordinate their activities to consolidate and combine related investigations and avoid duplication of effort and waste of resources.
In addition to training and coordination with the Identity Theft Working Group, the MCVRC will partner with a variety of national programs to identify and assist victims of identity theft and financial fraud nationwide, including the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, and the National Crime Victim Law Institute. The MCVRC will expand their direct legal representation to assist victims in state and federal courts in Maryland to protect their rights in criminal cases, and refer victims to other agencies when the MCVRC is unable to provide those services.
The MCVRC will also partner with the Georgia Legal Service Office, Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center, the ABA Center for Pro Bono, and others to promote self-advocacy among victims and encourage pro bono attorney representation by creating internet pro bono information packets, a model pro bono program and training for pro bono attorneys. The MCVRC will partner with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission, International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and others to create, test, and nationally replicate a model training program for criminal justice agencies to appropriately document, serve and refer victims.
The Identity Theft Working Group includes representatives of the United States Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the Department of Transportation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as state and local investigators from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, federal and state prosecutors and financial fraud investigators from state and national financial institutions.