Atlanta man back in jail, facing allegations of ID fraud

An Atlanta man accused of using stolen identities to file hundreds of bogus tax returns and finance luxury cars and furniture is back behind bars.

Erkes Green is wanted in three metro Atlanta jurisdictions on allegations of ID fraud after police say he skipped out on a DeKalb County court hearing in June.

And one of his alleged victims, a Channel 2 Action News reporter, is relieved Green is back in police custody.

Late last month, the bonding company Green used for his release in March turned the 28-year-old over to the DeKalb County jail, jail officials said.

Following his February arrest on identity fraud and forgery charges, police investigators and victims alike worried that if released, Green might disappear.

“It appears we’re going to have to find him all over again,” Atlanta police Detective Ken Stapler said in March, after Green bonded out of the DeKalb County jail, despite evidence he had ready access to cash.

But DeKalb jail records show he was booked on July 27 on a charge of failing to appear at a June 10 arraignment.

Police allege that Green used a keystroke grabber — a piece of ID theft technology that can go unseen for months at a time if plugged into a computer’s USB port — to siphon information from victims’ forays into personal accounts.

Channel 2 Action News traffic reporter Mark Arum is one of two Atlanta victims whose IDs police say Green used to buy a pair of Mercedes-Benz sedans.

“I’m surprised that they were able to apprehend him again,” Arum said. “I didn’t think they would be able to.”

Channel 2 is owned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s parent company, Cox Media Group.

In addition to the $73,000 car police allege Green bought using Arum’s name in 2010, investigators say Green also used Arum’s personal information to file fraudulent income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for 2011 and 2012.

“My credit score is coming back,” said Arum, who also recently received a refund for his 2011 tax return. “I’ve still been unable to refinance my house — which is costing me thousands of dollars — because the mortgage lender can’t confirm through the IRS that my tax return is legitimate.”

Stapler said Fulton County charges are pending, and officials with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Green is wanted there, too.

Investigators believe Green has had help and is part of a network of ID thieves.

When he was arrested in February, Atlanta police investigators found records they believe show Green was using personal information from 142 individuals in Georgia and Florida to file tax returns with an average refund of between $8,000 and $9,000, Stapler said.

If that accusation is accurate, Green could also face federal charges, authorities said, although federal officials could not confirm whether he was being investigated.

If and when Green goes to court, Arum said he wants to be there.

“I want him to know this is not a victimless crime,” Arum said. “And I want my money back.”

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