Tales from the Trail

Fed chief victim of identity theft

Not even the head of the nation’s top bank is immune from identity theft.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke became a victim last summer after a thief stole his wife’s purse with the couple’s joint check book inside, Newsweek reported, citing recently filed court records.

Days after the purse was swiped at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill, someone started cashing checks on the Bernanke family bank account, Newsweek said.

The theft of  Bernanke’s check book became part of a wide-ranging identity-theft investigation the by the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Bernanke was found to be one of hundreds of victims of an elaborate identity-fraud ring, headed by a convicted scam artist known as “Big Head,” that stole more than $2.1 million from consumers and at least 10 financial institutions around the United States, Newsweek reported.

“Identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans each year,” Bernanke said in a statement provided to Newsweek. “Our family was but one of 500 separate instances traced to one crime ring. I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who patiently and diligently work to solve and prevent these financial crimes.”

No Republican tricks at polls: McCain camp

WASHINGTON – A flier warning that Republicans could try to intimidate voters on Tuesday in the battleground state of Pennsylvania drew a sharp rebuke from John McCain’s camp.

The flier circulating in Lancaster County tells voters to be on alert for attempts to challenge their eligibility, according to McCain backer and former Sen. John Danforth.

He said the flier warns students and “people of color” they could be targeted, and some people might be told they cannot vote if they did not cast a ballot in the primaries, are delinquent on child support or have outstanding parking tickets.