Feeds

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

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

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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!" ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.