Bank says Marine not responsible for fraudulent account

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PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side has the latest on a United States Marine whose identity was stolen.

I talked about this issue a week ago. The story centered around a Marine who was deployed to Iraq only to find out that someone stole his identity and ripped off a bank in his name to the tune of $22,000.

That Marine's wife, who lives here in the Valley, contacted me for help.

"My heart just sunk," Jennifer Rivera said. "I was like, I cannot believe this."

When Rivera was profiled on 3 On Your Side last week, she was desperate. The problem? Her husband is in Iraq, but while he's there, someone stole his identity and, using his personal information, wound up stealing $22,000 from Washington Mutual.

Rivera and her husband never knew they had a problem until Jennifer got a letter from a debt collector demanding every nickel back from her and her husband.

"We just want his name cleared," Rivera said. "I want him to come home and not have any stresses over his identity. He's been through enough."

Rivera said the debt collector and Washington Mutual wouldn't listen to her.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and after asking Washington Mutual to investigate, the bank discovered Rivera's husband did not owe the money and that someone used his identity to steal $22,000.

That means Rivera and her husband will not be responsible for repaying money they never took in the first place.

"Oh, I cannot say enough about 3 On Your Side," Rivera said. "I'm so grateful for the help that I was given."

In fact, in a letter Washington Mutual confirms that Rivera and her husband will not be responsible for repaying the $22,000: "After reviewing our records and the information you provided, we have concluded that the account was opened fraudulently."

"I did notify my husband and he's extremely happy," Rivera said. "He's so glad to be able to come home and just concentrate on our family instead of the identity theft."

Rivera's husband comes home in November after his tour in Iraq.

Of course, thank you to Washington Mutual for looking into this and like I always say, thank you to Rivera's husband and all of our military men and women.