By this time most people know the importance of being careful with your credit cards. Don’t forget your wallet at a bar, don’t carelessly throw around your card number and don’t give plastic to your teenage daughter.
There is one more important but under-publicized caveat regarding cards: Don’t let your card or cards fall into the wrong hands after you die.
That is exactly what happened when a county coroner in Georgia got his hands on the debit card of a dead man back in 2012. The respected coroner, who was past his 70th birthday at the time, used the card to make 33 ATM withdrawals from the dead man’s account totaling almost $10,000.
Many of the withdrawals were captured on bank surveillance video.
Various state charges
The crooked coroner pleaded guilty and got three years in prison. He still faces various state charges for crimes committed by a public official.
The coroner will possibly spend his spare time in prison thinking about what might have been. After all, he missed a golden opportunity to line his pockets beyond what the debit card produced.
For example he could have taken the socks off the feet of the deceased and offered them for sale to the denizens of a homeless shelter who are challenged for footwear.
It goes without saying that there was money to be had in the mouth and hands of the dead man. The price of precious metals is down of late, but dental gold still brings in a buck or two. So do rings and other jewelry that may have adorned the corpse.
Open a consignment shop
Didn’t it occur to the coroner that he could open a halfway decent consignment shop with the clothing and shoes that he could steal from the dead?
Then there is the small change that collects in pants pockets. He could throw pennies, nickels and dimes into a big jar of formaldehyde and wait for it to grow into a sum large enough to pay for a cup of latte at Starbucks.
The coroner’s final missed opportunity for financial gain, but definitely not the least promising, involves the harvesting of organs for sale to desperately sick people who need a transplant.
On second thought, not even the coroner from Georgia could stoop that low.