Identity thieves busted by Instagram obsession

IRS agents said that this Jan. 7 photo of a steak and macaroni and cheese, captioned "Morton's" and posted on Instagram, helped them identify Nathaniel Troy Maye, 44, of Harlem, N.Y., as a suspect in an identity theft investigation.

A man's inability to refrain from sharing his steak and mac n' cheese meal on Instagram got him and his partner-in-crime busted for identity theft. Some might argue that this is a karma's punishment for spamming social media with "food porn," but there's more to the story.

According to court documents, Nathaniel Troy Maye and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason plead guilty to possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft last week after the pair offered to sell a large pile of stolen identities to an informant.

Thomason approached the informant late last year, offering to sell him "approximately 200,000 stolen means of identification, including the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of identity theft victims, in order to prepare false tax returns."

The two, as well as Thomason's boyfriend Maye, met at a Ft. Lauderdale restaurant called YOLO — those keeping up with slang will recognize as the acronym for "you only live once" — on Jan. 5. They discussed the details of transferring the stolen identifications — though this time the number of IDs was said to be 700,000 — and how the false returns would be filed.

Federal court handout / Today
Nathaniel Troy Maye and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason.

A few days later, on Jan. 7, the threesome met again at Morton's steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale. The informant was given a flash drive which contained only two files with 46 identical names, birth dates and social security numbers. Within this paltry haul however, IRS agents found the name "Troy Maye" in the metadata.

A Google search revealed an Instagram account connected to that name, with a steak and mac n' cheese meal pic, the caption "Morton's," and a time stamp matching the informant's date with the accused couple.


The Sun Sentinel's Paula McMahon reports that Maye and Thomason pleaded guilty to "aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorized access devices Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale." Thomason is free on bond, pending sentencing, and Maye remains locked up.

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