Valley Marine's identity is stolen while he's fighting overseas

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- A Valley Marine and his wife are in big trouble and it's not even their fault.

There are two groups of people I really enjoy helping. Senior citizens are one and our military men and women rank right up there at the top.

3 On Your Side is trying to help out a United States Marine who is currently in Iraq. Someone stole his identity and, using his name, ripped off a bank for $20,000.

"I am extremely proud of my husband," Jennifer Rivera said. "He finds so much honor in what he does."

Rivera's husband, Favio, is currently deployed to Iraq. But while this tough Marine is fighting for freedom overseas, someone has stolen his identity and is smearing his good name back here in the Valley.

"Someone has taken his social, his birth date, I was told they even have his blood type," Jennifer Rivera said.

And with her husband's personal information, Rivera says someone opened accounts at one of the largest banks around -- Washington Mutual.

"They went ahead and opened an account online, a savings and checking," Rivera said.

Using those accounts at Washington Mutual, the bad guys performed just a handful of transactions.

In fact, one was a telephone transfer for $22,000 and, again, this was all done under Favio Rivera's name.

By the time Washington Mutual realized they had been defrauded for all that money, it was too late.

And to make matters worse, the Riveras had no idea they had even been victimized until they received a letter from a debt collector demanding they pay back the $22,000.

"I'm looking at it going, 'Oh my God. We've never accrued this kind of debt. I don't understand this," Jennifer Rivera said.

With her husband overseas and a child to raise, she contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

We got a hold of Washington Mutual and told them about the Riveras' extreme situation.

At our urging, Washington Mutual immediately stopped the collection agency from pursuing the Riveras and then the bank launched an investigation that is still ongoing.

Rivera says the whole ordeal is almost unbearable.

"I just want his name cleared," she said. "I just want him to come home and not have any stresses about his identity. I mean, he's been through enough."

The good news is we were able to stop the collection agency from pursuing the matter. When Washington Mutual finishes its investigation, I'll provide the results and see if we can get this Marine's name cleared.