- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - Federal investigators say 42 people in South Florida have been charged with identity theft and fraud that involved intended losses of $21 million.

Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Thursday the suspects were indicted in 25 separate cases. Most were attempts to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, but some involve use of stolen identities to falsely obtain state unemployment insurance.

Ferrer says identity theft remains a huge problem in South Florida and that criminals are branching out to defraud Social Security and other programs. Some have tried to fraudulently claim state tax refunds outside Florida’s borders.

The Federal Trade Commission says Florida has led the nation in identity theft complaints for each of the past four years. In 2014, Florida’s rate was 186 complaints for every 100,000 residents.

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