Father Charged with Stealing Son’s Identity

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A father from Lackawanna County turned himself in to face more than a dozen charges of identity theft and fraud. His own son is his alleged victim.

Police say Michael Trichilo Sr. wrecked his son's credit over the span of six years.

Michael Trichilo Sr., of Throop, turned himself in at the Lackawanna County Courthouse Friday morning. He was arraigned on 18 felony counts, including identity theft and fraud.

His son Michael Jr. was not originally a cooperating witness in this case, telling detectives he did not want to file charges against his father, but earlier this year, investigators say his father left him with no choice.

Lackawanna County detectives say Trichilo Sr. allegedly using his son's Social Security number to rack up $120,000 in debt.

Investigators would eventually find that Trichilo started the fraud when his son was just 14.

Now 22, Trichilo Jr. learned of the fraud in 2016 when he went with his dad to buy his first car and couldn't get a loan.

According to court papers, the son's credit check found thousands of dollars' worth of loans and credit card bills. Detectives say Trichilo Sr. filed for bankruptcy in 2015 but kept using his son's identity to get money.

Court papers show that the father promised the son he'd make it right but never did. Earlier this year, Trichilo's family went to police.

Unless Trichilo Sr. takes responsibility for the debt Trichilo Jr. could be stuck with it.

Katelyn McManamon from Penn East Federal Credit union says it's your responsibility to track your credit.

"Here at the credit union, we always recommend that people check their credit at least once a year. You do need to be the advocate for yourself as far as credit goes, and you need to check it at least once a year. Look for any discrepancies, look for anything that may be funny, then contact that credit bureau," McManamon said.

We reached out to members of the Trichilo family, but they did not want to speak to us on camera. Michael Trichilo Sr. was released without having to post bail. He's due back in court next week.

5 comments

  • Fractal Kaleidoscope Spiral (@SpiralFractal)

    This happens all the time. Under the law, parents essentially own their children’s identity. I had a neighbor who bragged about naming his son after himself so he could use the boy’s SS# with his ID. He’d already ruined his own credit, and saw having a baby as the solution. I called authorities but was told the parent had the right to use his son’s credit until the boy turned 18, then it was up to the son to pursue charges. But how many children will press charges against their own parents? And often, the law aids them because of statues of limitation which allow the opportunity to press charges to pass before the child becomes an adult. The only reason this made the news is because it’s one of the rare cases where a child pursues legal redress after learning what their parent has done.

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