Fighting For Freedom, Apple Pie and Mom. Well, Not Mom
Thanks to quick action by Northwest Community Credit Union, an Oregon National Guard soldier won't be out $10,000 stolen from his checking account while he served combat duty in Iraq. That's the good news.
The bad news is the thief was the soldier's own mother.
"It's an aberration even for ID theft," according to Kent White, Northwest Community CU VP of marketing.
Police arrested 51-year-old Eleanor Fay Alloway after allegedly making "dozens" of ATM withdrawals with her son's card. Police say she most likely found the ATM card and PIN in his mail. Eugene, Ore. Police Department Detective Doug Jordan said the department's investigation determined that she used the money for video poker, daily expenses and possibly medical items. Alloway was arrested and charged with aggravated theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft, all felonies under Oregon statutes. Jordan reported that Alloway showed no remorse and hardly any emotion at all regarding the incident.
The soldier asked not to be identified as he's deeply embarrassed by the incident, police say.
Stationed in Baghdad with the 2nd battalion of the 162nd Infantry Regiment, the soldier helped search for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used to attack convoys by insurgents and took part in the U.S. Marine assault on the Fallujah stronghold, according to Oregon National Guard Public Information Officer Kay Fristad. "They were very, very busy," she said.
The 162nd Infantry lost eight soldiers and had well over 50 troops wounded in combat, she said.
White and Northwest Community CU Operations Manager Karson Elkins said the soldier contacted the CU after learning his money was missing. CU staff tracked down the number of transactions and the locations and then found video footage of Eleanor Fay Alloway taking the money. Elkins said it was CU policy to refund members' money if a result of identity theft once a criminal complaint is filed.
Detective Jordan and PIO Fristad both said Northwest Community acted promptly to reimburse the Iraq veteran's $10,000.
"They treated him very well. They seemed to act quickly on his behalf," Jordan said.
White said even good identity theft precautions are difficult to enforce if a family member gains access to confidential information.