By William Gjebre, FloridaBulldog.com
Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anabelle Taub has become the victim of credit card fraud and blames her political opponents for playing a part in publicizing her personal information during last year’s bitterly contested commission election.
She made a fraud report July 12 with the Hallandale Beach Police Department. Taub also met with an FBI agent who specializes in identify theft at the agency office in Miramar. She had expressed concern about possible credit card theft when her personal information, including the last four digits of her Social Security number, was publicized.
“My identity has been stolen,” Taub said at the Aug. 2 city commission meeting where she talked about the credit card fraud amounting to nearly $4,000 and her lingering bitterness involving dirty campaign activities.
“I have had to deal with thousands of dollars [in credit card fraud], tracking devices on my car and a P.I. [private investigator] following me around,” Taub added. “I have had to deal with someone who bought a car in my name.”
Among those she singled out for her problems was former City Commissioner Bill Julian, who Taub unseated from the commission in last year’s election.
But “most of all,” Taub stated at the commission meeting, she blamed Mayor Joy Cooper. “I hold Mayor Cooper responsible for what I’m going through. You, Mayor Cooper have done all you can to destroy my life. You are drunk with power.”
Asked why she identified Cooper, Taub referred to a Sun Sentinel editorial, “The Dirtiest Election in Broward County,” published in November 2016. It stated Cooper had sent the newspaper a licensed investigator’s report on Taub that included her Social Security and credit card numbers. The information stated that another person uses Taub’s Social Security number and has two different dates of birth, the editorial stated.
The newspaper editorial said Cooper at first denied having seen or sent such documents. But after the newspaper revealed an email Cooper sent to the Sun Sentinel, Cooper stated, the newspaper said, “I feel like a total idiot. I didn’t remember sending it. I did send it… My bad.”
The mayor did not return calls for comment.
But responding at the Aug. 2 meeting, Cooper said, “I had nothing to do with trackers and private investigators… There was plenty of mud thrown on both sides” in the past election. Cooper did say, however, she had a background check done on Taub to make sure she lived in the city.
Taub, City Commissioner Michelle Lazarow — who defeated former commissioner Alex Lewy and frequent commission candidate Ann Henigson last November — and Commissioner Keith London reported tracking devices on their vehicles during last year’s campaign.
The new majority
The trio has formed a new majority on the commission, taking control from Cooper. Julian, who backed Cooper in previous years, would have allowed the mayor to retain control of the commission if he had been reelected. Commissioner Anthony Sanders generally backed Cooper. However, Sanders recently resigned following a critical investigative report by the Broward Inspector General’s Office.
As for Julian, Taub showed handbills and information published in the Sun Times newspaper, located in Hallandale Beach, which revealed the last four numbers of her Social Security number, questioned where she lived, publicized various addresses and questioned her date of birthday.
“Shame on all of you,’’ Taub said, referring to those who distributed her personal information, including Julian.
Contacted, Julian said he found information about Taub placed in his mailbox. “It was anonymous,” he said, refusing to answer questions about whether he checked out the information and what part he played in the newspaper advertising and distribution of the handbills.
“I don’t want to talk about last year,” Julian said. “I don’t want to talk about all that stuff.” He also said he didn’t want to talk about a report that he was caught on a recording saying he was promised hundreds of workers by an attorney for a prominent local business group. “That was London trying to kill my election,” Julian said.
Despite the controversy surrounding Julian, he says is considering seeking the commission seat vacated by Sanders, in either a special election or when Sanders’ full term expires in November 2018.
During the hectic election last year and the current fraud activities, Taub said she has been dealing with cancer issues, which has required her to go to a Georgia treatment facility. She said she is cancer free now but is receiving follow-up treatment.
The July 12 report by the Hallandale Beach Police Department stated, “Taub explained she had discovered charges on her CapitalOne Credit Card Account she did not authorize.”
“Taub was able to provide a printout of twenty-four  charges she did not authorize,” the report stated. “The purchases on the credit card account … were in multiple municipalities including Hallandale Beach. The charges in Hallandale Beach were done at Walgreens located at 1300 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. on 7/6/17 for $69.00 and a vending machine on 7/9/17 for $0.85.”
Taub said the credit card was issued in her name.
Since she filed the report, the list of fraudulent charges has grown to about 135, totaling $3,862.19 – absent the purchase of a car.