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Identity thieves fell for the lures of 'food porn,' and were caught

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This picture of a steak and mac-and-cheese from the up-scale Morton's steakhouse helped the IRS capture an American couple trying to sell 50,000 stolen identities to be used for fake tax returns. (Photo: Sun Sentinel)

What became of that Instagram shot from yesterday's special Mother's Day dinner? Or the Twitpic of last week's totally photogenic Belgian waffles?

If you're like many other "food porn" aficionados, you likely snapped it, posted it, and forgot about it.

But one American couple, called "the Bonnie and Clyde of identity theft" by some, could be spending the next 12 years thinking about their ill-advised insta-food post.

Nathaniel Troy Maye of New York, and TiwannaTenise Thomason from Southern Florida were meeting a client in the Fort Lauderdale branch of the upscale Morton's steakhouse to sell a flash drive containing a trove of stolen identities to be used for filing false income tax returns.

What they didn't know was that the buyer was an IRS informant.

When IRS investigators mined the data - which contained only 50 of the 50,000 promised identities - they uncovered hidden data belonging to a "Troye Maye."

What they didn't have was any evidence linking this information to the man who'd handed over the drive. That is until one tech-savvy IRS agent started searching social media sites and found an Instagram shot of a steak and mac-and-cheese dish with the caption "Morton's" posted by "TROYMAYE."

The date the image was posted on corresponded to the dinner meeting in which the exchange took place. A profile picture found under the same account solidified the connection to Maye.

When authorities later searched Thomason's apartment they found more flash drives containing up to 55,000 stolen identities.

The food photo that led to Maye and Thomason's arrest was the first Instagram picture to be cited as judicial evidence when the two appeared in federal court last Friday.
The pair pled guilty to "aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorized access devices," according to a local news site.

Each of them faces up to 12 years in prison and other fines.

Have you ever thought twice about taking a picture and posting it to social media because you were supposed to be somewhere or doing something else?

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