Richard Overton, who turned 112 years old in May, is America’s oldest living war veteran: He survived World War II, bombs and gunfire, the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, but became the recent victim of identity theft. High-tech thieves cleaned out his bank account with a few key strokes on a computer.
Overton’s family said they are not sure how thieves gained access to Overton’s social security number and personal checking account numbers.
One of Overton’s cousins discovered the discrepancy while making a deposit.
“I looked at it — what the hell are these debits?” Overton’s cousin, Volma Overton Jr., told CNN affiliate KXAN.
Overton Jr said someone made several purchases of saving bonds with Treasury Direct and there was no money left in Overton’s bank account.
Richard Overton in 1944
“It’s a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously,” Overton Jr. said.
The family says the case is perplexing but Overton’s cousin said “it’d be terrible to know somebody who’s been that close to him has used him like that.”
Overton joined the military in 1942 and was a soldier in the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit stationed in several Pacific islands. Overton served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945 with assignments in Hawaii, Guam and Iwo Jima.
According to Gerontology Research Group, Overton is the oldest man in America.
In 2013, Overton was honored by then-President Barack Obama during a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony.
And even though President Donald Trump claims he’s going above and beyond to provide for war veterans, I haven’t seen a tweet from Trump acknowledging Overton’s plight — or his remarkable service to his country. Not that I expect it.
Meanwhile, Overton told The Dallas Morning News that he smokes a dozen cigars a day, drinks whiskey and Coke, and sips lots of coffee. When asked the secret to his longevity, he said it was simple.
“Just keep living,” he said. “Don’t die.”
I don’t know if investigators will ever find the thieves who hacked into Overton’s bank account and stole Overton’s money. And I don’t know if cyber cops will ever recover his missing funds.
I do know that it’s sad when a man serves his county with honor and distinction, lives to be 112 years old, is separated from his savings in the twilight of his life.
What do you think?
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