Check, Please!

But I paid retail for that purse!

Stop! Thief! I keep my husband's balls in there!

Yeah, so this piece of news out of Washington does not exactly inspire confidence… It seems that the personal bank account of Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was hacked and looted by a group of Virginia purse snatchers!

The theft, which occurred last year, but which has only come to light now, went down like this: Banker-in Chief’s wife, Anna Bernanke, was at a Starbucks near Capitol Hill, probably enjoying a $17 cup of burnt coffee, when her handbag was grabbed. But heedless of the warnings not to carry sensitive identity information in a purse that she’d dangled off the back of her chair, Mrs. B’s bag contained her driver’s license, Social Security card, four credit cards, and a book of Wachovia bank checks from the couple’s joint checking account. Printed on each check were the Bernankes’ bank-account number, home address, and telephone number. (Honestly, I’m surprised she didn’t have another card in there listing her weight, eyeglass prescription, and the names of all previous sexual partners.)

What was especially unfortunate for the Bernankes was that it turned out that the person who randomly stole Anna’s bag was actually tied to a sophisticated crime ring, and began cashing checks from the couple’s account a few days later. According to Michael Isikoff’s story in Newsweek,  the syndicate had stolen more than $2.1 M from its victims. But Federal Investigators were already on the trail:  “One of the group’s ringleaders, Clyde Austin Gray Jr. of Waldorf, Md., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in federal court in Alexandria, Va., just last month. Gray (who was known to members of his ring as Big Head) employed an army of pickpockets, mail thieves, and office workers to swipe checks, credit cards, military IDs, and other personal records, according to his plea agreement and other court records filed in his case.”

Isikoff’s full article is kind of stunning and worth checking out. And if you’re interested in learning more about what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft or are worried you might become one, you just might want to turn to page 144 in SO SUE ME, JACKASS! because we’ve got some tips for you even beyond, “What do you think this is, 1951? Never, never carry your social security card in your wallet, you big ding dong!”

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