Even a criminal can’t resist bragging about a delicious meal. A foodie with a love of steak and Instagram unwittingly gave up evidence of his identity to authorities when he took a photo of his very expensive meal, eventually leading to his own arrest.
The Sun Sentinel reports that identity thief Nathaniel Troy Maye was tracked thanks to an Instagram of his dinner. The IRS has been searching for Maye for quite some time, and he ended up unwittingly making the ordeal far easier. His accomplice, Tenise Thomason was also nabbed.
The IRS conducted an undercover “witness” operation to link Maye to the identity theft and drum up evidence that this suspect was responsible for illegally selling stolen identities. When it came to the witness and Maye’s second and final encounter, which they agreed would take place at Morton’s, the suspect was supposed to hand over 50,000 identities to use to file false income tax returns.
The drive was discovered to hold just 50 identities, but investigators turned up some hidden metadata that proved the drive belonged to Maye. The only problem was that the IRS wasn’t able to prove that the person they’ve been meeting with was in fact Maye.
Fortunately, Maye did the hard work for the investigators. Louis Babino, an IRS special agent, poked around the Web, looking for any hints about Maye’s true identity. What he found was an Instagram profile named “TROYMAYE,” but the clincher was the Morton’s steak photo. The date and location of the photo, which Maye couldn’t have made any easier for investigators, was dated the day of the meeting alongside a caption reading “Morton’s.” With that detail out of the way, all it took was a bit of extra digging through Maye’s Instagram account before it turned up a photo of the profile’s owner, Nathaniel Troy Maye, and everything was tied together.
That offered detectives enough evidence to scour Thomason’s apartment, which uncovered a trove of stolen identities – upwards of 55,000.
After being nabbed of for the suspected crimes, the duo pled guilty for “aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorized access devices,” says The Sun Sentinel.