AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin supercentenarian and the nation’s oldest living man, Richard Overton, is the victim of identity theft that left his bank account empty, family says.
Someone used his account to purchase savings bonds with Treasury Direct, Richard’s cousin Volma Overton Jr. said. He added that the purchases had been happening for a “couple of months.”
“It’s a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously,” he said.
Volma discovered the account discrepancy when he deposited money into Richard’s personal account, then went to the bank to check the balance. All that was in there was the money he had just deposited.
“I looked at it — what the hell are these debits?” Volma recalled thinking when a bank employee pulled up the statement showing the money went to Treasury Direct. He said the bank has been very helpful and that he’s also sent a letter to Treasury Direct.
“I don’t know how they got his social security number and his personal checking account number but those things they have,” he said.
It’s not hard to find Richard’s name, birthday or even address online. The 112-year-old WWII veteran is a staple of Austin (in fact, his house with party decorations can be seen on Google Maps), and he recently celebrated a birthday in March.
“We wanted to put word out about them using his name with stolen ID,” Volma said. “It might help others realize how vulnerable we all are to this.”
Volma says the family is not sure who’s behind this crime.
“My mind goes up and down the gamut from A to Z of who it could be, but it could be someone in a foreign country,” he said.
When asked his thoughts on the potential of it being someone close to Richard, he said, “It’d be terrible to know somebody who’s been that close to him has used him like that.”
Volma didn’t specify how much money was in Richard’s account, but he said it was a “considerable amount.”
This account is a personal one and is separate from the GoFundMe the family uses to help pay for Richard’s care. At $480 per day and nearly $15,000 per month, his round-the-clock care requires consistent fundraising.
The family notified the police on Thursday afternoon. The Austin Police Department says they’re working closely with the Overton family on this matter.