SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Court records obtained by CBS4 News reveal details about an ongoing criminal investigation of identity theft stretching from South Florida to Alaska. It involves the alleged theft of money from the Alaska Permanent Fund, which pays money to every permanent Alaska resident annually based on proceeds from the state’s oil revenues.
Alaskan authorities with the state’s Department of Revenue confirmed to CBS4 News on Wednesday that a Sunrise man is suspected in the wide-ranging fraud investigation, which court records show also involves the theft of funds from a government program in Illinois.READ MORE: South Florida Playing Pivotal Role In Transformation Of Psychedelics As Mainstream Medicine
The Alaska investigation is revealed in a search warrant. The document says Larry Scroggins is suspected of stealing money from Alaskan residents who get money each year from the Fund, which typically pays each resident between $1,000 to $3,000 per year, according to investigator Nathan Imes.
“A lot of people rely on (the Fund) up here to supplement their income,” Imes said. “It’s a high cost of living up here.”
Imes said the Department of Revenue began receiving complaints last September from residents about changes made to their direct deposit information. Imes began investigating. A trail of bank records, cellphone records, surveillance video and computer records led Imes to Florida.
“It all pointed towards South Florida and specifically Sunrise,” he said.
Imes said Scroggins somehow got access to personal information on possibly more on than two dozen Alaskans, changed their direct deposit information for the Fund and started getting money out at South Florida ATM’s. He said in all there appears to be about 20-30 victims.
“We knew based on the changes that were made that someone had stolen a large amount of Alaskans’ identifying information,” Imes said.READ MORE: Parkland parents furious following Texas elementary school shooting: ‘They failed our kids again’
It’s not clear where that stolen personal information, which likely included driver’s license numbers, social security numbers and dates of birth, came from.
In December, Imes and another investigator traveled more than 4,500 miles from Alaska to South Florida to serve a search warrant at Scroggins’ Sunrise home with the help of South Florida law enforcement. Court records show investigators recovered computers, cellphones, numerous credit cards and shredded pieces of credit cards. Imes’ investigation determined that “The evidence and data patterns provided…all strongly indicate that Larry Scroggins perpetrated this fraud.”
Court records also show that investigators believe other government benefits were stolen in other states. The search warrant says “It is evident that the suspect(s) in this case were involved in multiple fraudulent government benefit schemes. The monies that were loaded onto the American Express cards also had monies loaded from fraudulent State of Illinois Unemployment Benefits claims.”
Imes said this case proves and should leave no doubt that Alaskan authorities will do all they can to protect this cherished program.
“Alaskans count on us that this can’t happen or that people attempt this are brought to justice,” Imes said. “This program is incredibly important to Alaskans and we will spend money and the resources and the time to protect it at basically all costs.”
Imes said it does not appear that the state of Florida was victimized. However, he said it does appear that some Florida residents had their identities stolen. Imes said no arrest has been made at this time and no charges have been filed. The case is ongoing.MORE NEWS: Environmental advocates who say Biscayne Bay is dying to gather Wednesday to find solutions
CBS4 News tried multiple times to reach Larry Scroggins for comment but we could not locate him.