Southern California breaking news and trends

LAFD ambulance riders urged to call IRS after billing breach

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The L.A. Times reports that personal information may have been stolen from more than 900 Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance riders last year.

The IRS is investigating whether an employee of the billing company, Advanced Data Processing Inc., accessed Social Security numbers, birth dates and other information from individuals tranported by LAFD ambulances.

Fire department notification letters warn that patient information was used in a scheme to obtain illegal tax refunds, and that potential victims should contact the IRS and determine if bogus returns were filed in their names, reports The Times.

Twenty-six notification letters have gone out so far and more than 900 people may have been victimized in total, said William Carter, chief deputy to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

[...]The city's ambulance billing duties are handled by Advanced Data Processing Inc., which received nearly $6 million from the Fire Department between June 2011 and Oct. 30, according to City Controller Wendy Greuel. 

Federal law protects private medical information, Carter said.

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Identity thieves reassembled shredded documents found in Santa Clarita trash bin, investigators say

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Apparently, shredding personal documents to avoid having your identity stolen doesn’t always work -- at least not if the thieves are willing to put all the little pieces back together.

A couple in Santa Clarita was up to that challenge, L.A. County Sheriff’s detectives say, and now 49-year-old Grant Lind and 37-year-old Tammy Combe are behind bars on multiple charges related to identity theft.

According to wire reports, the couple was arrested late last year after deputies seized check-making equipment, counterfeit checks, stolen IDs and hundreds of bank account numbers in their Newhall home. Sherriff’s Deputy Sgt. Steven Rohrbach announced the charges against them on Tuesday.

Lind and Combe are accused of taking shredded documents from a trash bin at a self-storage facility at 27815 Smyth Drive in Valencia and using that information to acquire the routing and bank account numbers of various people and businesses. From there they produced counterfeit checks, authorities say.

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Embittered gay man stole family members' identities, Glendale police say

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A 2012 Chevy Malibu available at Allen Gwyn Chevrolet

A Glendale man upset by his family’s treatment of him for being gay got back at them by stealing their identities, police say.

The Glendale News-Press reports that 24-year-old Christopher Higa allegedly used the identity of his 21-year-old brother Nicholas to set up a bank account, obtain credit cards and buy a brand-new 2012 Chevy Malibu from Allen Gwynn Chevrolet on South Brand Boulevard.

Higa also allegedly stole the identity of another sibling and his mother. He told police he hadn’t even spoken to his family for more than a year after they shunned him due to his sexual orientation, according to the News-Press.

Higa was allegedly going so far as to price-shop in his brother’s name, telling police he first picked up a Malibu at Toyota of Glendale before finding a better deal at Allen Gwynn, according to reports.

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