Be careful what you Instagram, would-be criminals. This seemingly benign photo of steak at a Morton's in South Florida led to the arrest of Nathaniel Troy Maye and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason, who recently pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. According to the Sun-Sentinel, an undercover IRS witness told investigators about a man who claimed to have access to 700,000 identities, which could be used to file fake tax returns. The only problem was how to find him; obviously, the investigation turned to Instagram.
A flash drive the couple gave the witness — which contained 50,000 identities — held data that linked it to a Troy Maye, which also happened to be Maye's Instagram handle. Investigators were able to link the steak photo, which was captioned "Morton's," to a meeting between the witness and Maye at the steakhouse chain. That meeting and Maye's user ID photo helped investigators make the arrest.
Maye and Thomason are currently awaiting sentencing. Sadly, Maye's Instagram account is now private, so there are no further clues as to which high-end chain restaurants identity thieves prefer. You can still see his bio, though, which reads: "Good things will come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle!" For Maye and Thomason, the hustle is over.
Be careful out there, would be food photographers. First it turns out taking pictures of your food may be a sign of mental illness, and now Instagram is becoming the playground of criminals. Who knows what doom lurks behind your next snapshot of Sunday brunch?
· Instagram 'Food Porn' Photo Leads IRS to Identity Thieves [Sun-Sentinel]
· All Instagram Coverage on Eater [-E-]