This Identity Thief Was Brought to Justice:
The Victim's Restitution Letter to the Criminal's Probation Officer
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United States Probation
ATTN: Mr. M___________, Probation Officer
Dear Mr. M_________:
I have learned from U.S. Postal Inspector Mr. H__________ that Ms. ______________ will be sentenced in December for fraudulent use of the mails in a case involving the theft of my identity. Ms. _________ has not just violated federal law, but she has created substantial personal grief and inconvenience to me and my family since the problem of my identity theft first came to light in summer 1998. I am writing to explain some of the ways that her behavior has disrupted my life and cost me time and money. I am seeking restitution for these damages.
Ms. _________'s theft of my SSN and other personal information has brought inconvenience to me in the form of time, which has taken my attention away from my academic work and personal time on many occasions. I have had to field calls in my academic office at all times of the workday to talk with credit card personnel and others. Some of these calls have come in the middle of meetings with students and during my preparations for teaching. On more than one occasion, I've taken what would have been lunch time to get papers notarized. In addition, I have met once during in my office with postal inspectors. At home, I have spent endless hours on the telephone and filling out paperwork, some of it more than once. I calculate the time alone to be more than 90 hours since 1998.
Ms. ________ has also given me fear for my safety by intruding into my home via mail and telephone. In late August 1998, she wrote me a long and rambling letter addressed to my home. The letter appeared to be the work of someone mentally unstable who knew where I lived. A few weeks later, someone claiming to be _______________'s attorney called me at home and recounted a rambling unbelievable story about how [the perpetrator] and I had the same social security number. "_______________" is one of the aliases that [she] used to obtain credit using my SSN. I believed at the time that the caller was the perpetrator herself, and I ended the conversation. However, I feared that she might have been stalking me, and I called NY State Police to ask about legal protection. My family and I subsequently took measures to tighten security at home.
I have also experienced emotional distress in other ways. When I discovered that Ms. __________ had succeeded in having her home address and place of work substituted for mine with the credit bureaus, I felt sick to my stomach. I saw in this a deep betrayal by a stranger, someone who had never seen me and whom I had never harmed but who would take away everything I had worked 50+ years to establish. She had stolen into the most intimate spaces of my life and taken away my economic security. I have always prided myself on being a responsible spender, on paying bills on time, and in limiting my credit card use. Even the years that I spent in graduate school, living below poverty, I managed to maintain my credit ratings. I feared she would never be caught and that my credit would never be straightened out. What this meant in the long run was troubling. Fortunately, there was a positive outcome.
I have calculated my time and out-of-pocket expenses on the attached sheet. To these, I add subscription fees for a credit monitoring program for the next five years to assure that I am not re-victimized by Ms. ________ or others. I attach an accounting of these charges, which come to a total of $4,530.
I ask that Ms. ________ be required to reimburse me for this amount as part of her sentence. I also ask that the Court prevent her from victimizing me in the future by carefully monitoring her behavior and specifying that she never try to contact me again or in any way further exploit me. Thank you for forwarding this letter and request to the federal judge who will sentence Ms. ________.
P.S. I add that until Inspector H_________ came onto this case, I had lost all hope of clearing my account and bringing the perpetrator to justice. I commend Mr. H________, who has been extraordinarily competent, professional and thoughtful in this work on my case. I have always had complete trust in him.
90 hours time @ $45/hour (professional rate) $4,050 Postage, mileage, other out-of-pocket 50 Long distance phone 30 Credit monitoring service (5 yrs @ $80/yr) 400 TOTAL $4,530
- My records show that I have spent 90 hours in the last 27 months in telephone calls with credit account managers, law enforcement officials, postal inspectors and others; in going over credit reports to discern fraudulent accounts; and in filing paperwork by fax or mail.I have driven all over town to find notary publics on many occasions, faxed paperwork, and sent dozens of fraud reports and required documentation. I note that this process of clearing my credit records continues to the present time, as I work with Postal Inspector H__________ to remove the remaining fraudulent accounts.
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