Tax fraud fugitive nabbed after posting selfies

Alleged ID thief slips ankle bracelet but can't escape social media monitors

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A US man charged with tax fraud and identity theft has been arrested after fleeing authorities and allegedly posting bragging selfies on Twitter.

Lance Ealy, 28, of Ohio was arrested in a raid Wednesday in Atlanta by federal authorities after he skipped trial on charges he purchased stolen Social Security numbers and personal information from a Vietnamese fraud site, then used them to file bogus tax returns.

Ealy removed an ankle bracelet monitor during his trial and went on the run, submitting legal documents to the court requesting a retrial and allegedly posting selfies on his Twitter account.

An image posted by security reporter Brian Krebs matches those and videos posted to a still active Twitter account.

Ealy was indicted in the US on 46 counts of fraud including buying and selling stolen identities and filing false income tax returns.

Krebsonsecurity citing investigators close to the case alleges Ealy continued to file fraudulent tax returns while on the run.

Those unnamed sources say Ealy turned to prison inmates to file bogus tax returns under their names, handing them US$100 and pocketing the remainder.

Ealy is alleged to have filed fake tax returns using records purchased from convicted Vietnamese national Hieu Minh Ngo who ran website superget.info and Findget.me. Those sites sold records purchased from US credit bureau Experian via Ohio-based US Info Search in an explosive breach revealed in April last year.

Ngo sold some 150,000 "packages" of personal information on US citizens to more than 1000 individuals around the world, according to the US Department of Justice.

Some three million queries were conducted to obtain names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license number, mother’s maiden name, bank account numbers and other information, it says.

US authorities took over Ngo's operations in a bid to track down some of the 1000 customers. That sting netted Florida man Derric Theoc who was sentenced in October to 27 months in prison for attempting to buy the records.

Ngo pleaded guilty on 3 March, 2014 to wire fraud and identification fraud. ®

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