Police searching home of man charged with identity theft find thousands of records

Tuesday, November 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) _ A preliminary inspection of computer discs seized in an identity theft investigation indicates that more than two-thirds of the state's residents could have been targeted, authorities said.

Some of the 85 discs recovered from the home of Jody Gene Oates include the names, home addresses, dates of birth and Oregon driver's license numbers for 269,889 people whose last names begin with B, said Detective Roger Bush, whose name was among them.

Bush said the seized files were labeled A to Z, leading investigators to suspect they hold the same records on all Oregon residents with a driver's license or an identification card. Police have not had time to review all the data.

``The potential for fraud here is just enormous,'' Bush said.

Oates, 44, was arrested Nov. 14 and charged with identity theft and forgery. He was held on $1,000 bail but was released a day later because of overcrowding in the jail.

Investigators said they also found credit cards, identification photos, death certificates, Social Security cards and applications for medical residency at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in a suitcase and safe at Oates' house.

Officials are still trying to figure out how the records were obtained. Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services spokesman Kevin Beckstrom said Oates didn't legally buy the records from the agency, which is allowed to sell the data.