Dozens of Jackson County residents become victims of million dollar identity theft scam

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster and Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker filed charges Monday against at local car dealer who used customers' information to scam thousands of dollars from auto financing companies.  

Terry Lee Morrow Jr., 25, faces 17 felony charges against for a year-long identity theft scam. He used to operate Edge Auto Sales, which was located along 24 Highway in Independence.

According to court documents, Morrow took personal information from his customers, such as date of birth, social security and driver's license numbers and then forge documents to secure car loans.  

He would then change or fabricate the customer's address and other details. Morrow allegedly used the victim's information to forge dozens of fraudulent auto loans for car purchases that never occurred.  

The Attorney General's Office alleges that Morrow sold each of the fraudulent loans to automotive finance companies, who bought the rights to collect on the loan for a lump sum payment to Morrow. Koster said his office has already discovered about $1,036,522 of fraudulent loans, which Morrow sold to four automobile finance companies for more than $470,000.

Morrow moved from Missouri to Illinois in 2012. Authorities said he started a new dealership, Silver Star Motors, in his new state. Through that dealership, authorities accuse him of reusing identities of Jackson County victims, in addition to stealing information from new victims in Illinois to recreate the scheme.

The Missouri Attorney General's investigation stemmed from a tip from a consumer who had discovered the fake car loan on her credit report. An Illinois consumer checking his credit report also discovered a fraudulent car loan and alerted authorizes.

Koster's office has identified at least 44 Missouri consumers whose information was used to create scam loans. Koster said his office has worked with the financing companies that bough the loans and has reached agreement with them to remove the loans form consumers' credit reports.

Morrow is currently being held at the Dekalb County, Ill., jail pending extradition to Missouri. If convicted of the charges, Morrow faces the possibility of life in prison.

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