In the category of news about people with hearts of stone – not just plain-old stone, but ice-cold stone from the ice age – comes revelations that someone has drained the bank account of the country’s oldest World War II veteran, multiple news organizations are reporting.
Richard Overton, 112, of Austin, Texas, was the victim of identity theft in a plot that left his bank account with nothing, according to KXAN. The thief or thieves reportedly used the account to purchase savings bonds with Treasury Direct, the report says.
“It’s a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously,” Volma Overton Jr., Richard Overton’s cousin, told television news outlet.
The cousin said he discovered the discrepancy Thursday when he went put money into Richard Overton’s personal account and learned the balance equaled only the amount he had just deposited. After inquiring about the discrepancy, he learned that someone had accessed his cousin’s Social Security number and checking account number, he told the Austin American-Statesman.
“I looked at it – what the hell are these debits?” the cousin told KXAN.
“How could someone do this to Richard?” the American-Statesman quoted the cousin as asking. “He’s such a special person to Austin and to the country, and now, someone is robbing him?”
The bank is helping the family track down the culprit, Volma Overton Jr. said, but the family wanted to share their experience to prevent others from being victimized.
“We wanted to put the word out about them using his name with stolen ID,” the cousin said. “It might help others realize how vulnerable we all are to this.”
The Austin Police Department told KXAN it is investigating.
The incident did not affect a GoFundMe crowdfunding page that the family created in 2016 to provide round-the-clock care for Overton so that he can live at home, according to the American-Statesman. That account has a balance of more than $300,000.
Overton, who has achieved celebrity status, likes to spend his days smoking cigars and greeting passers-by from his porch, the American-Statesman reports. The people of Austin celebrated his 112th birthday in May with a community block party.