Richard Overton is a noteworthy American because, at 112 years old, he’s the oldest person in the country — and the oldest military vet. But this week, the Austin, Texas, resident made headlines for a much more heartbreaking reason: His bank account was drained after he became a victim of identity theft.
Volma Overton Jr., who is Richard’s cousin, told Austin’s KXAN that he went to deposit money into his cousin’s account. But after Volma checked the new balance, that deposit was the only money Richard had available in the account.
Apparently, Richard’s Social Security number was stolen, along with his checking account information. The thieves used the information to buy Treasury Direct savings bonds, using Richard’s bank account number.
Volma told KXAN that Richard’s bank is working with them to try to get the money back. He’s also contacted Treasury Direct and reported the theft to the Austin Police Department. He told KXAN that the family doesn’t know who could be behind the theft, but he suspects it could be “someone in a foreign country.”
The amount of money that was taken hasn’t been revealed, but Volma told the Dallas Morning News that what was taken “was a significant amount of money.”
“It’s a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously,” Volma told KXAN of the theft.
Although it’s unclear if the funds will be recovered, the Overtons have a GoFundMe page to help cover his living expenses. The family created the page before the theft, to help cover full-time home care for Richard, so that he can live at home, rather than at an assisted living facility.
Born on May 11, 1906, in St. Mary’s Colony, Bastrop County, Texas, Richard is the grandson of a Tennessee slave who moved to Texas upon emancipation. He’s a World War II veteran who has been honored by former President Barack Obama during a Veterans Day ceremony.
According to Business Insider, Richard Overton talked to Steve Harvey in 2012, saying his advice for a long life was to “just keep living.”
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