A mother-of-four in Louth was devastated to discover that a con man from Texas had stolen her dead son’s identity and assumed his persona under a fake passport.
Fran Gibney, from Tullyvallen, County Louth recently discovered that US fraudster, Jeremy Cochran (37), had stolen her dead child’s identity.
Gibney’s son died when he was just five weeks old, in 1975.
Police believe that Cochran lifted John’s name and date of birth from his grave, along with the information of five other Irish boys who died in the same year. He then mocked up fake passports in each of their names.
In all Cochran had six Irish passports. He used this false identification to get PPS (Personal Public Service / Social Security) numbers and to open bank accounts. Cochran claimed social welfare and lodged false insurance claims using this dead children’s names.
Cochran was sentenced to four years in prison and charged with 36 counts of fraud last year.
Shortly after the court case Gibney’s husband, Liam, passed away. If her son John had lived he would be celebrating his 38th birthday next week.
Gibney was “shocked and devastated” when the police told her they had arrested “John Gibney”, her dead son, boarding a flight at Dublin Airport.
She asked the police for a photograph of Cochran or a description.
The distraught mother told the Irish Sun newspaper “I asked if he was good-looking and was told the Texan resembled movie star Colin Farrell.”
She admitted “This is a very hard time of the year for me but I am grateful that I know about Cochran.”
However, it is now Gibney’s wish that the birth certificate system be changed so that the dead’s are marked deceased, preventing identity theft such as this taking place.
Cochran’s crimes were tracked by insurance spy and investigator David Snow. John’s story is now contained in Snow’s book entitled “Someone Has Taken My Place”.
The crimes took place throughout Ireland, Britain and the United States. It’s estimated that Cochran made $106,900 from his scam accident claims in Ireland. He also used the names of two dead Irish children in a collision scam.
Snow told the Irish Sun “He hired a car in Britain in one name and then managed to drive that car and knock ‘himself’ down using one of the other identities. He got a couple of thousand pounds.”
Stone, an expert in the forensics of financial fraud investigations, worked with the FBI, ex-KGB and CIA agents, the American Secret Service, Interpol and the Irish police force chasing Cochran’s crimes.