MIAMI — Identity theft may have reached a new low over the weekend when an employee of a Jewish community organization was arrested on charges of selling Holocaust survivors' identity information for a sum of $1,000.
Crystal Thorne, 23, who worked as a coordinator at the Jewish Community Services of South Florida office in North Miami, was arrested Saturday on identity theft charges. She remains in custody after making her first appearance Monday in Miami federal court.
South Florida is among the nation's hot spots for identity theft, with crooks using personal information for all kinds of fraud, including credit card, health care and tax refund rackets, authorities say. But the Thorne case is a first.
Thorne's job gave her direct access to the personal information of clients — names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers — who regularly seek help from the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program, according to federal prosecutor Diane Patrick. Thorne was arrested after she offered to sell the Holocaust victims' IDs to a confidential police informer, who told her that he wanted to use them for a tax refund scam.
After she was arrested, Thorne signed a statement saying she obtained "these stolen sheets of identity information from her employment at the Jewish Community Services of South Florida." She also stated she had provided ID sheets to the informer in the past.
Thorne said she gave the informer the ID sheets "in hopes of getting a couple of dollars."