Self-proclaimed ‘Father of Identity Theft’ convicted of stealing money from the dead

'Father of Identity Theft' convicted of stealing money from the dead

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The self-proclaimed “Father of Identity Theft” was convicted by a federal jury of stealing the identities of people who’ve died. He is a man that has been on WMC Action News 5’s radar since 2015 when agencies came together to take him into custody.

James Jackson’s plan began in 2014. Jackson targeted the identities of people, many of them dead and stole money from banks, financial companies and individuals according to the U.S. Attorney Office for the Western District of Tennessee.

Law enforcement agencies from Tennessee Highway Patrol, Memphis Police and even The United States Postal Inspection Service were looking for Jackson.

Through a quick Google search using Jackson’s name we found a clip on YouTube from a show called “M&J Investigates”. On that show in 2008, Jackson admitted to spending time in prison in New York and said “by no means at all” would he do another illegal activity.

Turns out, that’s not the case. Four years later, a federal jury found Jackson guilty of 13 counts of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud and theft of mail. A scheme that involved combing through online obituaries and posing as the deceased.

Jackson would convince businesses to mail new or blank credit cards to vacant homes or hotels.

But in February 2015 U.S. Postal Inspectors along with THP foiled Jackson’s plan when he called a Cordova post office asking about a missing credit package that was to be mailed to a man who died weeks earlier.

Investigators allowed the package to be mailed then waited outside for it to be retrieved by Jackson. Jackson was spotted by investigators walking across the street and pulling the package from the mailbox. He was arrested shortly after the trip to the mail box. Inside the home investigators say they found small fires intentionally set to destroy evidence.

Security experts say these crimes are an alarming reminder to always be vigilant of information you share.

“The number one thing that you need to do is be careful you but in an obituary people can use that to do things to impersonate your identity,” said Jeff Horton, IT & Cyber Security Expert.

Jackson will be sentenced at the federal courthouse in December. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

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