A employee of a local financial institution is being credited by federal law enforcement for helping to break-up a national identity theft ring.
Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the IRS, announced the bust today in Pittsburgh.
They said an employee at the Widget Financial office on East Lake Road in Erie noticed something wrong with a application to open a bank account.
She took the information to the company CEO, who contacted the FBI. That action led to the arrest of five people with ties to Nigeria. They are charged with using thousands of stolen id's to set up bank accounts across the nation. They used the accounts to apply for credit cards and to file fraudulent tax returns. The suspects received at least $10 million in refunds from the IRS.
Federal agents commended the Widget employee during today's news conference. The people at Widget say they're very proud.
"We had some employees that were very, very good about searching this out, presenting the case to law enforcement that showed the money and how it was coming in and moving around. For us, that means we have top notched staff and it really means for the criminals, they should have picked a different place to open the accounts," said Trenton Mason, Widget Chief Marketing Officer.
The suspects allegedly used many other banks across the country to open the accounts. However, all the suspects will be prosecuted in Erie.