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TCC students among victims in $3.3-million ID-theft case
From: Erica Absetz <erica () riskbasedsecurity com>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:30:47 -0400


The personal information of about 3,300 current and former Tallahassee
Community College students was compromised as part of a scheme by two
South Florida men to file fake tax returns seeking millions in

TCC officials announced the theft of the computer data Friday, saying
they recently learned about it from federal officials. The personal
information was stolen from TCC’s financial-aid office in March 2011.

TCC is sending letters to students potentially impacted starting
Monday, said TCC Police Chief David Hendry. The letters will detail
what steps students can take to check the security of their
identities. TCC also is providing additional resources, including a
hot line for students to call for more information.

“TCC values the protection of private information, so we take this
matter very seriously,” he said. “We have identified the group of
individuals whose information may have been compromised, and we will
immediately begin the process of contacting each one.”

Hendry said that as a result of the security breach, TCC has
identified and fixed vulnerabilities in its financial-aid system.

Two Miami men, Charlton Escarmant, 29, and Arthy Icart, 24, were
indicted Oct. 5, 2012, on federal charges that they participated in a
conspiracy to steal identities so they could file phoney tax returns
for more than $3.3 million in refunds.

Officials with the U.S. Attorneys Office in Miami confirmed that
former and current TCC students were victims in the case. They also
said more than 3,200 names found on a computer in Escarmant’s
possession came from TCC.

Hendry said TCC computers were not hacked from outside the community
college. Instead, someone accessed computers within TCC and stole the
personal information.

“Somehow or another that got into the hands of those people in Miami,” he said.

The TCC Police Department and the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement are investigating who accessed the financial-aid system
and how, he added.

On Tuesday, jurors in Escarmant’s federal trial found him guilty of
charges including submitting false claims to the IRS and aggravated
identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 17 before U.S.
District Judge Joan A. Lenard. Escarmant is facing up to 24 years in
federal prison. Icart pleaded guilty Jan. 17 and is set to be
sentenced April 1.

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division and the
North Miami Beach Police Department investigated as part of the
Identity Theft Tax Refund Strike Force.
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