FBI arrests Two in Countrywide Identity Theft Scam; One is Countrywide Financial Analyst Insider

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 The FBI announced on Friday, a former Countrywide Home Loan employee and another man were arrested on suspicion of selling the identities of the distressed lender's customers.

Prosecutors suspect the data was sold to companies that would then try to make other loans to the Countrywide customers. The former employee, Rene L. Rebollo Jr., 36, of Pasadena, was charged with exceeding authorized access to the computer of a financial institution, the FBI said in a statement.

Wahid Siddiqi, 25, of Thousand Oaks is accused of fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, the FBI said. Both men were in custody.  Rebollo had access to Countrywide client information when he worked as a senior financial analyst for the subprime mortgage division, known as Full Spectrum Lending, according to the criminal complaint.

He is suspected of downloading the information from about 20,000 customers each week for two years and selling the data in batches of 20,000 for $500, authorities said.  As many as 2 million names were run and sold.

Countrywide spokeswoman Susan Martin said 19,000 customers had so far been identified as having their identities compromised.

Victims were being contacted by mail and would be offered free credit monitoring services for two years.

Rebollo would go into work on Sunday afternoons, log onto his company's network and download the data onto flash drives, according to the complaint.

Investigators believe he was selling the information to Siddiqi, who allegedly acted as a middle man for the companies that bought it.

On July 7, a confidential witness working for the FBI ordered several thousand customer profiles for $4,000 from Siddiqi, according to the complaint.

The witness asked if the leads were "fresh" from Countrywide, to which Siddiqi allegedly said yes and added the data had full Social Security numbers, the complaint said.  Authorities claim Rebollo made up to $70,000 from the sale of the information.

Countrywide was acquired last month by Bank of America Corp.


As a follow up on an earlier "insider" case...

Analyst Who Sold Consumers' Data Going To Prison

TAMPA - A former analyst for a St. Petersburg check authorizing company was sentenced Thursday to four years and nine months in federal prison for stealing more than 8.4 million consumer records that were sold to direct marketers.

William G. Sullivan, 54, worked for Certegy Check Services, a subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, which announced the theft in July 2007 but said 2.3 million records were involved. The company said the information was not used for identity theft or other financial fraud.

"I deeply regret what I did," Sullivan told U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday. "I in no way intended to cause anybody grief or hardship."

He said he agreed to participate in the scheme because he had no 401(k) and his wife was not working. "Bottom line is I made a bad mistake. I'm not saying that because I got caught. Every week, I regretted it. ... I'm going to stand up, be a man and take my punishment and try to move on." MORE


To see why I believe offering credit monitoring services after a data theft occurs -isn't the optimal way to avoid an identity theft -or lessen the impact see:

Thieves thrive in underground chat rooms!

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