By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal grand jury alleges identity fraud with an ugly twist, and US attorney Zane Memeger calls the allegations “truly despicable.”
The grand jury alleges the defendants — a total of seven defendants in two separate indictments — stole the identities of disabled children and children in foster care.
Former social worker Gebah Kamara allegedly played a key role in one conspiracy.
“The indictment charges that Gebah Kamara, a former social worker at Catholic Social Services, actually sold foster children’s names, dates of births, and Social Security numbers to tax preparers to use in tax returns as false dependents,” says federal prosecutor Karen Klotz.
An “aggravated” identity theft conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, in addition to any sentences for other charged crimes.
Kamara has pleaded not guilty.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it discovered a suspicious document in 2011, and authorities were notified along with foster parents to inform them of a possible security breach. The statement says Catholic Social Services has cooperated fully in connection with what it calls “reprehensible” and “inexcusable” alleged crimes by the former worker.