Information stolen in OPM hack shows up in fraud case
By RACHEL WEINER | The Washington Post | Published: June 19, 2018
Four years after hackers stole personal information from over 22 million people through the Office of Personnel Management, a fraud scheme exploiting that data has come to light in southeast Virginia.
Two people have admitted in Newport News, Virginia, federal court they used the stolen identities to take out fake loans through a federal credit union. The case appears to be the first involving OPM data to be publicly revealed by the Justice Department.
Kariva Cross, 39, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Marlon McKnight, 40, pleaded guilty last week to the same charges.
Both are from Bowie, Maryland, according to prosecutors, but have ties to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
Left unexplained is how Cross and McKnight obtained the OPM information. Government officials traced the hack to China, and a Chinese national was accused in California last year of using the same type of malware. Cross and McKnight were not accused of any hacking-related crimes.
A spokesman for the Eastern District of Virginia would not elaborate on how the two defendants got access to OPM data.
The three would take out car and personal loans at Langley Federal Credit Union in the names of the victims, many of whom prosecutors say were based in Colorado and exposed through the OPM hack. Then they would pose as the car owners and cash loan checks or get wire transfers from the accounts they set up.
The case began when a victim identified as "K.B." got a past due balance on a vehicle loan and contacted the bank, according to court documents. The fraudsters had the victim's social security number and driver's license information.
Asked how they might have gotten the information, "K.B." revealed he or she was a victim of the OPM hack.
A third woman, Erica Latin-Hunter, admitted in March she let her name be used as the supposed owner of a Nissan SUV sold to K.B. She then cashed checks against a loan made in K.B.'s name.
Charges were dismissed against three others who said they were unaware of the source of funds that ended up in their bank accounts, according to court filings.