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Feds use Instagram pic of delicious steak dinner to nab ID thieves

A moment on the lips, a long time in prison?

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It's long been said that you are what you eat. Now American cops have used that claim to track down two people who have just pleaded guilty to identity theft.

It is reportedly the first time an Instagram pic has been used in a federal felony complaint.

The suspects were tracked by the IRS after one of them apparently used Instagram to capture a picture of their (admittedly yummy-looking) steak with a side of mac-and-cheese.

Nathaniel Troy Maye, 44, from Harlem, New York and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason, 39, from Miramar, are now facing a spell in prison along with a hefty fine after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorised access devices. The pair will be sentenced in July after entering their pleas on Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Before steak-gate, the US tax authorities were on the trail of a person claiming to have 700,000 fake identities on sale, but they had little clue how they would go about tracking him down.

An unnamed witness alleged the man went by the name of Troy and was in a relationship with Thomason.

Louis Babino, a special agent with the IRS criminal investigation unit, told the Sun Sentinel that the witness then arranged a lunch with the pair at Morton's steakhouse, where the couple agreed to hand over a flash drive packed with 50 identities which could potentially be used to file fake tax returns.

Federal agents then looked through the drive, which contained hidden links to the name Troy Maye, which was also used as an Instagram handle.

They looked at the Instagram page and found a picture of the meal the trio shared along with the tag "Morton's", allowing detectives to build a case against them.

IRS agents then swooped in and arrested Maye and Thomason at their apartment, where they found two more flash drives containing somewhere in the region of 55,000 fake identities.

Thomason reportedly cried as she told the judge: "I was foolish, I was stupid."

Troy Maye's Instagram page is closed but still bears the slogan: "Good things will come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle!" ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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