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Jackson County identity theft case grows into state’s largest
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:33:15 -0500

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/12/4062584/jackson-county-id-theft-case-grows.html

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Tuesday called a Jackson
County identity theft case the largest ever prosecuted by the state
and said 44 victims have been identified.

The case against former Independence car dealer Terry Lee Morrow Jr.,
25, had expanded significantly in the last week, since prosecutors
filed their initial case involving eight victims, Koster said.

The amount of fraudulent loans has more than doubled to $1,036,522,
and Morrow’s alleged take has gone from about $170,000 to $470,000 in
cash, Koster said.

“The scope of this identity theft scam was enormous and could even
grow,” Koster said.

Koster said he expected more charges against Morrow to be filed soon.

Morrow allegedly used personal information he obtained from former and
prospective customers at his car lot to create fraudulent car loans.

He first operated Edge Auto Sales in the 3500 block of Southwest U.S.
40 in Blue Springs but later moved it to 211 E. U.S. 24 in
Independence, court records said.

Between October 2011 and April 2012, Morrow generated illegal car
loans by using personal information from former customers in the
dealership’s files, court records alleged.

Using his customer’s names, birthdates and Social Security numbers,
Morrow fabricated addresses and other details, according to the
charges.

With the paperwork complete, Morrow then allegedly sold the loans to
four automotive finance companies, which then tried to collect, Koster
said. But because Morrow had used fake addresses, the finance
companies had trouble finding the victims, who were unaware that he
had signed them up for the loans.

The attorney general’s office has negotiated with the finance
companies to remove the loans from the victims’ credit reports. Koster
said he knew of no financial hardship suffered by the victims.

The scam came to light when a woman spotted a bogus loan on her credit
report and reported it to the attorney general’s office, which opened
an investigation.

“This case brings up the importance of regularly checking your credit
report,” Koster said.

He urged anyone who did business with Edge Motors, or filled out
financing information on the company’s website, to call his office at
800-392-8222.

Morrow, who court records said now lives in Streamwood, Ill., is
incarcerated in DeKalb County, Ill., on similar identity theft charges
there, Illinois authorities said. Koster said his office is seeking
Morrow’s extradition to Missouri.

In addition to Edge Auto, Morrow also purportedly fabricated an entire
auto dealership using information from one of his customers and faked
even more loans. Authorities declined to provide the name of that
dealership, pending more investigation.

After moving to Illinois, Morrow allegedly started another dealership,
Silver Star Motors, reusing identities of his Jackson County victims.
Illinois authorities, tipped off by another consumer, arrested Morrow
as he was preparing to flee, Koster said.

To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to mmorris () kcstar com 
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