'Food Porn' Gets ID Thieves Their Just Desserts

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on May 14, 2013 10:12 AM

When it comes to Instagram, no one can resist "food porn" -- not even identity thieves.

For two alleged South Florida identity thieves, justice came served with a swanky Morton's steak and side of mac and cheese when a food porn photo helped investigators track the thieving foodies down.

IRS agents were long on the hunt for the man who claimed he had 700,000 stolen identities, but it was the food porn that broke the identity theft case, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Nathaniel Troy Maye, 44, of Harlem, New York, and his girlfriend Tiwanna Tenise Thomason, 39, of Miramar, are facing up to a dozen years in federal prison and hefty fines.

A witness working undercover for the IRS met up with Maye and Thomason at a Morton's steakhouse, where the couple could hand over a flash drive containing 50,000 identities they thought would be used to file fraudulent income tax returns, the Sun Sentinel reports.

Florida has held down the record for a few years as the worst state for identity theft. The most common type of identity fraud is wage or tax fraud, which comprised almost half of all identity theft complaints in 2012.

When IRS agents examined the flash drive, which only contained 50 identities, they found hidden data linking the drive to "Troy Maye."

Though identity thieves often use social media in scams, this time the dinner tables turned. IRS agents found a "TROYMAYE" on Instagram with a photo of the smoking gun steak and macaroni and cheese meal containing the caption "Morton's." It coincided with the meeting between the witness and the couple.

Agents also found Maye's profile picture on the Instagram profile, which the witness identified as the man who gave him the drive and promised to provide the rest of the 50,000 identities -- in exchange for payment after fraudulent tax returns were filed in the victims' names, agents said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

IRS agents arrested the couple at Thomason's apartment and said they found two flash drives containing as many as 55,000 illegally obtained identities.

Rest assured, Maye won't be taking any selfies or food porn shots of freedom fries anytime soon.

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