Identity Theft

Candidate Allegedly Bounced Checks to Pay for Campaign Materials

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A Tennessee man has suspended his campaign for the state House of Representatives after being indicted for fraud and identity theft. Kristopher Gore, a Democratic candidate for Tennessee’s 43rd District, is accused of writing bad checks to pay for campaign materials. A graphic designer from a McMinnville sign shop says Gore owes thousands of dollars for “Kris Gore, State Representative” signs, hundreds of which sit in a local warehouse, WTVF-TV reports.

They’ll likely remain there, unused. On June 11, Gore posted an apology to his Facebook page and announced the suspension of his campaign.

“I am sure that most of you have seen the papers or heard what is currently going on in regards to some poor choices I made,” part of the post reads. “I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to all those I have hurt because of those decisions. To those involved I deeply apologize for the hardship I put you in financially. I have been and am currently working towards making restitution to all who were involved.”

In addition to the sign shop, a fellow Democrat is allegedly among the victims of Gore’s scheme. Gore is accused of stealing the identity of state Rep. John Windle, the longtime representative of Tennessee’s District 41. Windle told local media Gore worked part time for him about five years ago, and he had to freeze his bank accounts as a result of the alleged theft.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation started looking into Gore’s activities in May and discovered a check of $13,500 he wrote to the local sign shop had bounced. Further investigation revealed Gore forged a bank letter showing his account in good standing, according to a release on the TBI website. In June, he was indicted by a grand jury in Warren County on theft, writing bad checks, forgery and identity theft.

Identity theft can sometimes be difficult to detect. It’s usually more readily apparent if someone accesses your existing accounts, especially if you check your bank and credit card statements often. But if someone uses your information to open new accounts without your knowledge, you may not discover them until they’ve damaged your credit. That’s why it’s good to check your credit reports regularly for errors or signs of fraud, and to monitor your credit scores for any big, unexpected changes that could indicate a problem.  You can check your credit reports for free once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com, and you can monitor your credit scores through free sites like Credit.com.

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