A former Independence car dealer allegedly stole personal information from more than a dozen of his customers in what authorities are calling a “million dollar identity theft case.”
By MARK MORRIS
The Kansas City Star
Some details of the case against Terry Lee Morrow Jr. were outlined in fraud charges that state and local prosecutors filed quietly last week. Morrow once operated Edge Auto Sales at 211 E. U.S. 24, though state revenue officials said his Missouri dealership license expired Dec. 31, 2011.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Monday that he and local prosecutors would, on Tuesday, announce new details about the investigation and the criminal case against Morrow and detail the amount of the alleged thefts.
He currently faces 17 felony counts of identity theft, forgery and unlawful merchandising practices in Jackson County. He also is wanted in Clay County for failing to appear at a Feb. 2 hearing on a misdemeanor bad check charge, according to court records.
Morrow, whom court records said now lives in Streamwood, Ill., is incarcerated in DeKalb County, Ill., on similar identity theft charges there, Illinois authorities said.
Morrow, 25, first operated Edge Auto Sales at 3550 S.W. U.S. Highway 40 in Blue Springs, but later moved to the Independence location, court records said.
Between October 2011 and April 2012, Morrow generated illegal car loans by using personal information from former customers in the dealership’s files, court records alleged.
Using his customer’s names, birthdates and Social Security numbers, Morrow fabricated addresses and other details, according to the charges.
With the paperwork complete, Morrow then allegedly sold at least 15 loans — totaling at least $402,279 in credit — to at least one automotive finance company, which then tried to collect on the loans. Selling those loans netted Morrow more than $170,000, which the finance company wired into his account.
The criminal case suggests that more charges could be coming. An affidavit with the charges details the identities of eight former customers that Morrow is alleged to have stolen.
But the same affidavit, filed by an investigator in the Attorney General’s office, noted that authorities interviewed Morrow in Illinois on Jan. 30 and he allegedly admitted that he “fradulently used at least 18 Missouri residents’ personal information to submit automotive loans.”
Investigators also discovered paperwork in a suitcase found with Morrow that would have supported additional bogus loans, the affidavit alleged.
In previewing Tuesday’s announcement, the Attorney General’s Office said Koster and Jackson County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Page Bellamy would provide information to help consumers whose identities may have been stolen and provide updated numbers on the scope of the case.
To contact Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to email@example.com.