A group stole more than a million dollars from a bank by getting a person with inside information to give them financial information.
"Crystaline and Carter Smith recruited a person from the inside to assist her with getting banking information, basically," said Essialani Hollier-Jackson, U.S. Postal Inspector.
The bank "insider" provided account information and identifiers.
"They had a third party who ends up being Elise Bell, who went in and attempted--and actually successfully took all of the money out of the victim's account," said Hollier-Jackson.
The group stole $150,000 from one victim alone.
"These funds, these were her life savings, and she was so distraught she couldn't understand how this happened," said Hollier-Jackson.
As postal inspectors began digging, they found this case was just the beginning for the Smiths. Inspectors quickly learned the Smiths were career criminals.
"They lived in a very nice home that they had stolen, of course," said Hollier-Jackson. "They both drove nice cars that were bought in someone else's names. During a search warrant, we did find a large amount of cash at one house."
As inspectors closed in on the duo, they turned on each other.
"The best part is they are such good criminals that they both talked about the other to improve their status in terms of the investigation," said Hollier-Jackson. "'It wasn't me it was her. It wasn't me it was her.' So there was a lot of blaming back and forth."
In this case, there was very little the victim could have done to protect her bank account. However, inspectors say there are steps we all can take to keep an eye on our finances.
"Check your credit report. Check it regularly. If there is anything on it that appears odd or shouldn't be there, contact the credit bureau and find out what's going on," said Hollier-Jackson.
Also, check your mail. If you are missing something you were expecting, call the company right away.
"If you're not going to be home, put a vacation hold on your mail," said Hollier-Jackson. "The post office would be more than happy to hold your mail until you get back. These are the things criminals are looking for and they are easy ways for you to protect yourself."
Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:28 AM EDT2014-08-27 14:28:44 GMT
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