A purchase of machinery produced by farm equipment manufacturer John Deere & Co. led to the arrest of a man on identity theft charges in Michigan.
According to the state's Grand Rapids Press, James Jett, 31, was recently arraigned on felony charges of identity theft. Allegedly, Jett posed as another man in order to purchase a $10,000 piece of off-road equipment produced by John Deere.
John Kacsits is the manager of Fillimore Equipment, the Kent City, Michigan retailer where the purchase was made. Kacsits told the Press that the scam came to light when John Deere Credit started to try and collect payments on the Gator all-terrain vehicle.
"They attempted to contact who they thought was the owner (of the Gator) but he didn't know anything about it," Kacsits said.
Jett has also been implicated with another man, Michael Vorce, in a case in Wisconsin. In that alleged scam, the two men opened accounts in other people's names in order to apply for millions of dollars in loans. If convicted in the Michigan case, Jett faces a prison sentence that could amount to five years, along with $25,000 in fines.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, though there are things people can do to protect themselves. Along with monitoring their credit report, consumers need to be careful when they shop online by making sure they are dealing with reputable companies.