This was too good to pass up. Thank you Reuters!
Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:30am EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke was among hundreds of victims of an identity fraud ring that stole more than $2.1 million from consumers and financial institutions across the United States, Newsweek magazine reported on its website.
The head of the U.S. central bank and his wife were swept up in a case against the ring after her purse, with personal checks inside, was snatched at a coffee shop in August 2008, Newsweek reported, citing recently filed court documents.
Someone soon began cashing checks on the Bernanke family bank account, a crime that became part of a wide-ranging federal identity theft investigation that was already underway.
The targets were members of a nationwide ring that used a combination of old-fashioned thievery and high-tech fraud to loot the bank accounts of unsuspecting victims, Newsweek reported.
The investigation by the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service culminated in recent months with a series of arrests, criminal complaints and indictments brought by federal prosecutors in Virginia.
In a statement to Newsweek, Bernanke said identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans each year.
"Our family was but one of 500 separate instances traced to one crime ring," Bernanke said. "I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who patiently and diligently work to solve and prevent these financial crimes."