How Florida Wrongful Identity Case Led To Jail, Suit Against Bank


The Miami Herald tells a tale of how an identity theft can play out badly. Just before dawn, pounding on the front door jolted ex-Marine and young father Carlos Gomez out of bed. Federal agents poured into his home, pushing his wife aside and rushing to his bedroom. They held guns to his face before slapping him in handcuffs.

Gomez, busted in a money laundering scheme, would spend nearly two weeks in a federal detention center and another seven months under house arrest. It took 222 days before federal prosecutors realized it was all a terrible mistake: A rogue bank worker had stolen his identity. Thanks in part to Gomez's own sleuthing, prosecutors eventually discovered he had been wrongfully charged. The Wachovia Bank employee had stolen $1.1 million from customers, then swiped Gomez's identity to create a checking account under the pilfered name to launder portions of the embezzled proceeds. Now Gomez is suing Wachovia for “malicious prosecution.”

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