Friday, November 7, 2014

Identity Theft True Story

 Identity Theft True Story
by Traciy Curry-Reyes

The real story took place in 1998 in California when Michelle Brown's name and social security number were stolen from a rental application by Heddi Ille. Turns out Heddi knew the owner of the rental company, and she was somehow able to obtain the application. She used Michelle Brown's info off of the application to get a driver's license which she used to drive and  to travel extensively. She also used Michelle Brown's identity to buy property and to buy a vehicle worth $32,000 which she failed to pay. Ille took out a home phone in her name and did not pay the bill. When she was arrested for trying to smuggle illegal drugs she used Michelle Brown's name. Michelle had a hard time clearing her own name for quite some time. She suffered tremendously because of it. She had to explain that she was not THAT Michelle Brown everywhere she went. She just was not able to understand who could possibly do something like this to her. She knew that her family and friends would not be capable of such a crime. It was her landlord who helped her figure out who it could be. He knew a woman named Heddi Ille who had a history of committing fraud. The police investigated the case and deduced that it was really a woman named Heddi Ille. Ille was caught and prosecuted for stolen property, but not for identity theft. Michelle Brown continued to work to have some sort of legislation passed so that people are arrested and prosecuted for identity theft and not just for stolen property. That bill was finally passed and is now a law. Even while incarcerated in a federal prison, Michelle was caught sending and receiving mail in Michelle Brown's name, until the real Michelle Brown put a stop to it. Today, Michelle Brown lives life as carefully as possible. She does everything she can to make sure that her identity cannot be stolen again.

Extra Tidbits

The real Michelle Brown lived her life totally different than Heddi Ille. First of all they looked nothing alike. Michelle Brown paid everything on time, had a very good job working as a credit anaylist, and lived in a very nice neighborhood. She was responsible and had never had a run in with the law. Heddi Ille, on the other hand had several run ins with the law, and she was known to commit fraud. Also, she very rarely paid anything on time.

It took the real Michelle Brown about a year to figure out what was going on

Heddi Ille assumed about $50,000 worth of debt in Michelle's name.
Heddi was known to be involved in drug trafficking.
Heddi was released from federal prison in 2004

I have seen a photo of Heddi Ille. I cannot be sure, but it looks like she has changed her last name and hair color again.

There are a few really good books that can give you more info about identity theft. The problem of identity theft in this country is huge. A person's identity is stolen about every 60 seconds in the U.S targeting hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

I have listed some other cases below.