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Instagram Photo Of Steak Dinner Helps IRS Catch Identity Thieves

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The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In what’s believed to be a judicial first, an Instagram photo of a restaurant meal has helped put a pair in federal prison for stealing some 700,000 identities.

Nathaniel Troy Maye and Tiwanna Tenise Thompson met an IRS informant at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. restaurant, where Maye admitted to stealing the  identities but did not disclose his full name, only identifying himself as ‘Troy,’ according to an article in Gawker.

Two days later, the couple met the same informant at a Morton’s Steakhouse, where Maye provided the informant with a flash drive of stolen identities, according to article. Hidden data on the drive linked it to the name ‘Troy Maye.’

The article said that during the course of the investigation, agents found Maye’s public Instagram profile, which included a photo of his steak and macaroni meal he ate with the IRS informant, with the caption, ‘Morton’s.’ The informant also identified another photo of Maye from his Instagram account.

When the couple was arrested, the article said agents found tens of thousands of identities on flash drives in the couple’s home.

The Instagram photo was cited as evidence in the case.  The couple pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated identity theft and possession of unauthorized access devices. They face up to 12 years in federal prison.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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