2007_10_homedepot.jpgIf you're applying for a mortgage, you're willing to give up your personal details. Unfortunately, for some first-time applicants, their mortgage manager stole their identities - and $1 million.

Jacob Milton and his sister Nira Niru were arrested for identity theft, grand larceny and scheming to defraud after investigators at the 115th Precinct received many complaints of ID theft. The police found one common thread: They had all applied for mortgage at Griffin Mortgage's Jackson Heights branch, where Milton worked as a manager and Niru worked as his secretary.

The NY Times reports that the victims found out their identities had been stolen when other mortgage companies (the Griffin rates were too high, so the applicants usually withdrew) ran credit checks. Not only did the pair apply for mortgages using the stolen identities, apparently Milton and Niru opened charge accounts at Home Depot, because, per the Times, "Some victims also received bills from Home Depot for as much as $30,000 for merchandise they had not ordered or received." These particular thefts had a purpose, too: Milton had another business of renovating houses and then selling them.

Here's the NYPD's tips on preventing identity theft (PDF and MP3), plus tips from the Federal Trade Commission.