back to article Fraudster admits she was OPM dealer: Leaked US govt staff files used to bag cash, car loans

A woman has fessed up to using people's personal information, leaked online from the US government's Office of Personnel Management mega-hack, to take out loans and open bank accounts. Karvia Cross, 39, of Bowie, Maryland, USA, pleaded guilty on Monday in the eastern district of Virginia to one count of identity theft and …

  1. Mayday Silver badge
    Pirate

    Take that!

    "She faces anywhere from two to 30 years when sentenced this Fall."

    Seems like quite a range. I am always confused by yank sentencing guidelines, but I know they always tend to the maximum. Unlike in Aussie where offences committed in the one sequence of acts allows for at least partial concurrency.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe if you culpably do something and are caught you deserve whatever the law gives you however with the US system all these long sentences with overcrowded correctional facilities doesn't seem to reduce or deter crime but make all these "Criminal Universities" and breed recidivism. Not too mention feed the prison-industrial complex which seems to exist over there.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Take that!

      @Mayday.... the numbers reported by the media are basically atmospheric noise: basically random.

      Here's someone who knows whereof he speaks explaining the phenomena: https://www.popehat.com/2013/02/05/crime-whale-sushi-sentence-eleventy-million-years/

      (Edited to add: anyone reading that post would likely be interested in knowing he actual sentence wasn't 67 years -- as Ken predicted -- but two years' probation, a fine or $5,000 and 200 hours of community service).

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Take that!

      I am always confused by yank sentencing guidelines, but I know they always tend to the maximum. Unlike in Aussie where offences committed in the one sequence of acts allows for at least partial concurrency.

      It's called "leverage". The prosecutors can tell the perp that they'll push for the maximum sentence unless the perp "helps". Usually turning state's evidence for their cohorts in crime or maybe to be part of the sting. And sometimes just to get them to confess so the prosecutors don't have to spend a lot of time preparing a case and they going to trial. If they have political ambitions, "confictions" (either by trial or negotiation) make them look "tough on crime".

      BTW, the US does concurrent sentences also.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take that!

      There is a lot of misinformation perpetuated for financial profit by the media where sensationalism generates page hit count and sells newspapers. The U.S. actually doesn't impose inappropriate punishment in most cases. Sure you can find exceptions but considering that the punishment is meant to be a deterrent not and exchange of value, it's reasonable to make prison time uninviting. The wide range of the sentencing guidelines is intended to cover the diverse possibilities of a crime, the past history of repeat offenders/career criminals and malicious intent. A slap on the wrist as digital crims get in some countries is an insult to those who have been violated by hackers. It's a travesty of justice to allow a criminal to impose more harm or damage than what they receive in punishment.

      This case is a perfect example of how innocent people's lives can be ruined by hackers and fraudsters who use other people's personal identities. People's credit rating and lives can be compromised forever with these types of crimes yet the criminals may never even go to prison or spend little time in prison. I'd suggest a minimum of 1 year in prison for every person's life that has been damaged by a hacker. Until you've personally experienced the nightmare of having your identity stolen and misused, you have no comprehension of the damaged imposed, i.e. the inability to resolve credit scams, inability to buy a home, rent a car, get a credit card, open legitimate bank accounts, investment accts., etc., etc. This nightmare can last most of a victim's lifetime and require thousands of hours of time and never be totally resolved.

      1. ciaran

        Life sentence for stealing some kids films from a video tape store!

        In california if you're convicted 3 times you're sentenced to 25 years in jail. Sounds fair.

        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/three-strikes-28-10-2002/

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Take that!

        Prosecutors use the greatest extension possible as a threat.

        They're basically blackmailing presumed offenders into accepting plea deals - even if innocent - for fear of getting extremely long sentences.

        And that's how you get such a high level of convictions in the US (and still rising: from around 75% in 1972 to 93% in 2012)

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Take that!

          And that's how you get such a high level of convictions in the US

          At some point they'll get to the same state as Japan: "if we've arrested you, you must be guilty"..

          I think they have something like a 95% conviction rate..

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Its not just for plea deals

          The threat of long sentences is also to get them to roll over on other criminals. Since the person convicted here did so to the tune of five fellow conspirators, according to the article, her sentence is likely to be towards the short end of that range (especially if someone else was the mastermind)

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Take that!

        "The U.S. actually doesn't impose inappropriate punishment in most cases"

        From an American point of view that might be true, but for those of us outside the US, your sentences seem pretty draconian. The idea of jail being partly about reformation rather than punishment doesn't seem to have ever gained ground in the US.

        Still, have to love the irony of calling yourselves the 'Land of the Free' with the largest prison population in the world :)

      4. Alistair Silver badge

        Re: Take that!

        @AC

        .e. the inability to resolve credit scams, inability to buy a home, rent a car, get a credit card, open legitimate bank accounts, investment accts., etc., etc. This nightmare can last most of a victim's lifetime and require thousands of hours of time and never be totally resolved

        It can take rather a lot of work to untangle if has been left lying about, however a) All credit issues fall off credit reporting in 7 years if there is no activity* on that item. 5 years if the the report item is a positive (interesting that). Furthermore, at least in my experiences (my own and a pair of relatives) - clearing them up is a *legal* battle, but can be handled effectively and efficiently within about a year. It wasn't "free" but all things considered about $1200 in legal fees and about 5 months of back and forth, depositions, court filing and a series of requests from the legal beagles to the credit ratings agencies with nice legal stamps and seals got things sorted.

        I'm not saying that these folks should not be prosecuted, but to claim that mucking up someone's credit rating fraudulently can affect their entire life is somewhat of an exaggeration.

        * I'll note that one thing that had to be stomped on in a relatives case was having a loan agent, and a collections agent tag teaming back and forth with one fraudulent item. In that case it ended up not costing a penny since the claims court judge found in her favour, and made the agent and the collections "company" (an individual with about 11 different corp names) pay costs.

    4. David Glasgow

      Re: Take that!

      One in thirty three US citizens are incarcerated.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Case shows just how long data leaks can linger for the companies & governments who fall victim'

    Can't wait for Equifux / Facebook etc!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One upside of the OPM network breech

    I can now get a Chinese security clearance, as they have my background data.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: One upside of the OPM network breech

      You got one of those letters too! When the envelope said I had already been approved I thought it was just another credit card. Hmm, I get several of those every week, maybe I should check them out more closely and see what they pay. Shouldn't be anything wrong with a little side hustle, right?

  4. EveryTime Silver badge

    Sooo.... what facility is in Langley Virginia that is big enough to have it's own credit union?

    Affiliations in this story are conveniently omitted.

    1. JohnBoyNC

      Re: MiguelC

      What facilities are at Langley? Do a quick Google and check the Wikipedia hit. You got your US Air Force commands and some silent partners.....omitted from that entry is the NASA contingent, among others.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    This gift will keep on giving.

    For a long time.

    Not to mention all the folk who applied for security clearance in there.

    No problem with finding mothers maiden name either.

    1. GnuTzu Bronze badge

      Re: This gift will keep on giving. -- One Down

      How many more to go?

  6. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Pseudo statisticians

    I love people who come up with false narratives and stats which are so far off, you can only assume, they don't have the brain power and patience to do 20 minutes of research and cross checking to get it right. ...rather, they'd prefer to spout out numbers and false figures in an attempt to make themselves seem more superior than others. Fact is, it only displays their own ignorance.

    Using once source, especially something you just heard, or figured out on your own... isn't going to make you look smart.

    ...and bundling "YANKS" and all citizens of the USA as one is really asinine. ...but it's understandable many Europeans do this, as they don't really understand the size of the USA, and cannot begin to imagine what it is like to live there. As if, what works in England can transfer to the USA; when most of the states alone are larger and more populace than England; let alone 50 put together.

    The EU bundled together, is only half the size and population of the USA, and look how screwed up it is.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Pseudo statisticians

      Late, but...

      What a load of codswallop, @Aodhhan!

      Population of the US (per census.gov) is 328M or so. The population of the most populous state (California) is 39M, followed by Texas at 28M.

      Population of the EU (per europa.eu) is 508M or so. The population of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and Spain are all larger than that of California, and Poland has more people than Texas.

      Yes, the USA is larger (at 9.8M km2) compared to the EU (4M km2). But the USA includes some fairly huge areas of not-very-habitable land (deserts, tundra, mountains) so the "usable" figures are much closer together than you might conclude. But in any case, the EU has 50% more people in (say) half the area...

      Wanna try again? Perhaps after you've done 20 minutes of research and cross-checking?

      (P.s. you're right about that "isn't going to make you look smart" bit.... ).

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