FBI: Suspect Used Obama Alias

Man facing fraud rap after ATM scheme goes bust

Alexander Morris

View Document

FBI: Suspect Used "Barack Obama" Alias

MAY 4--Wearing a "Rick James" wig and employing the alias "Barack Obama," a North Carolina man last month plotted to hack dozens of ATM machines, but had his ambitious plan thwarteMAY 4--Wearing a 'Rick James' wig and employing the alias 'Barack Obama,' a North Carolina man last month plotted to hack dozens of ATM machines, but had his ambitious plan thwarted by an FBI undercover operation, records show.

Thor Alexander Morris, 19, was arrested April 22 after traveling to Houston in an alleged bid to bilk more than $300,000 from about 35 ATMs. According to an affidavit sworn by FBI Agent Karen Ann Marinos, Morris planned to use a confidential operator's manual to reprogram a specific brand of ATM so that the machine would issue $20 for every $1 requested.

To remain 'anonymous and untraceable,' after arriving in Texas, Morris purchased a $400 'Walmart Green Dot PrePaid card,' which he planned to use to withdraw money from the hacked ATMs. Before entering the Walmart, Morris changed clothes in the parking lot, topping the new ensemble with 'his 'Rick James' wig that he had used in the past when he compromised other ATM's,' according to the FBI affidavit, which is excerpted here.

At one point, Morris, who was met in Houston by an undercover FBI agent, drove around looking for an unsecured wireless connection. When he got online, Morris activated the Walmart card under the name 'Barack Obama,' with an accompanying Washington, D.C. address of '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.'

After Morris unsuccessfully tried to reprogram an ATM at a Houston market, the FBI moved in, arresting him on a felony fraud rap. In addition to the 'Rick James' wig, investigators recovered a 'goatee beard kit' and one bottle of 'Cinema Secrets gum adhesive' among Morris's belongings. A review of Morris's Facebook account shows that his 'likes' include Senator John McCain's page and one devoted to the 2008 McCain-Palin ticket. As seen above, his MySpace page was last accessed the day before his arrest, when Morris listed his mood as 'happy.' (7 pages)