Elderly man latest victim of identity theft

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

A 91-year-old Cape Girardeau man lost thousands of dollars in an apparent identity-theft case discovered by the man's caretaker, police said Monday.

Cape Girardeau police spokesman Jason Selzer said 13 incidents of withdrawals and online payments to a credit card were reported during a period between March and the end of May.

Police have turned the case over to detectives and are not ready to seek charges, Selzer said. The main suspect in the case is the elderly man's former financial adviser, he said.

Police were withholding the name of both the victim and the suspect while the investigation is pending, Selzer said.

"The payments were received as payments on an active credit card account," he said. "The bank is cooperating with the investigation."

While none of the individual transactions was more than $1,000, Selzer said, the total of the transactions add up to several thousand dollars.

"We pulled a report for each transaction and they were all an online payment or a cash withdrawal," he said.

The elderly man's caretaker became concerned when she discovered an online banking account had been opened in his name, Selzer said. A review of the account showed that there were funds missing and she started going over the man's finances.

"She noticed a lot of missing funds," he said.

The former financial adviser is the main suspect because the credit card is in his name and he had the necessary account information to establish the online service for the account, Selzer said.

The caretaker's trip to the bank to view statements of account history confirmed that numerous unauthorized transactions had taken place, he said.

The discovery of the theft shows how important it is to diligently review every item on a bank statement, he said.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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