Man suspected of stealing 12-year-old’s identity
by Wes Mayer
A man suspected of stealing the identity of a 12-year-old to commit fraud has been arrested by authorities with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.
Recently, Christopher Lamont Bowles, 40, opened a deposit account at a credit union in Newnan, and on the same day, he attempted to apply for a loan, said Investigator Chad McDonald with the sheriff’s office. The credit union, however, found Bowles had some discrepancies on his credit report, so they denied his application. The credit union’s branch manager was suspicious of Bowles, so she later reported him to the sheriff’s office.
After an investigation, McDonald was able to determine the Social Security number Bowles used to open the deposit account in Newnan actually belonged to a 12-year-old who lives in Ohio. According to McDonald, he then served a search warrant on Bowles’ credit account and discovered Bowles opened five other credit accounts in 2014 using his real name and birth date, but with the 12-year-old’s Social Security number.
“This is known as synthetic identity fraud,” McDonald said. “The credit bureaus and creditors are vulnerable to this sort of fraud because they do not have a direct means of confirming with the Social Security Administration if the number given by a credit applicant is the applicant’s actual number. … In this case, the victim was a child and had no credit history, so Bowles’ applications raised no red flags when he used the child’s Social Security number.”
Bowles was arrested on July 30 and charged with forgery in the first degree and two counts of identity fraud, and he was transported to the Coweta County Jail.
The case is still under investigation, and more charges are expected to follow, McDonald said.