Navy Fed Employee Stole Murdered Man’s Identity

Steven Verrett, an employee of Navy Federal Credit Union, has been arrested and charged with 15 counts of fraud and related offenses that involved the identity of a murdered man.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Verrett worked as a Member Services Rep and pled “not guilty” in court last week.

An Internal Investigator Alerted the Police

Police were alerted to the unusual fraud when an Investigator from the Navy Fed sent police video surveillance that apparently showed the employee depositing five checks into the account of Jermaine Thirkield.

Thirkfield was murdered in Muscogee County on Nov. 21, 2023. Edenfield said all fraud happened after Thirkield died.

Police said the videos showed the employee depositing the checks into Thirkield’s account on Dec. 26, 2023, and making a new debit card connected to the account he later used.

Stolen Checks And Car Loans All Happened After The Murder

While it is not unusual for identity thieves to steal deceased victims’ identities, what is unusual is that the employee used a murdered man’s identity only days after the man was murdered.

According to police detectives, Verrett used legitimate customers at his desk as cover while he deposited counterfeit checks and opened fraudulent vehicle loans. According to police, those funds were funneled to himself and several other co-conspirators.

After further investigation, it appears the checks came from companies in North Carolina and were all reportedly stolen from the mail. The checks were very high dollar amounts, ranging from $100,000 to nearly $300,000, for a total value of roughly $861,000.

Thanks to the alert investigator, the companies were able to stop payment on the checks, but a fraudulent $17,000 car loan did get funded.

Seven Other Bank Accounts Might Be Related

Detectives, with the help of NFCU internal investigators, found at least eight Navy Fed accounts involved in fraudulent activity.

On May 28, Verrett was arrested by the Columbus Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit.

He was taken to the Muscogee County Jail and charged with five counts of third-degree forgery, three counts of identity fraud, two counts of felony criminal attempt theft by deception, felony theft by deception, financial transaction card forgery, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, and computer forgery.

No Indication That He Was Involved in Murder

As of now, there are no indications that Verrett was involved in the murder of Jermaine Thirkfield. One could only speculate he read the news and figured he could use the account to mule his stolen checks, avoiding detection.

One has to ask, though, how could it be so dumb to deposit over $800,000 in fraudulent checks into a recently murdered man’s account?