BRETT ZONGKER

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - An elaborate identity theft scheme has reached the highest levels of the U.S. financial system, striking the personal bank account of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his wife.

According to a D.C. police report, Anna Bernanke's purse was stolen last August from her chair at a Capitol Hill Starbucks. It contained her Social Security card, checkbook and IDs.

From there, the Bernankes' checking account was swept up into a larger scheme first reported by Newsweek magazine Tuesday.

Court filings show defendant George L. Reid of Washington has confessed to depositing checks from the Bernankes' account.

In a statement, Bernanke says identity theft affects millions of people each year and that his family was one of 500 separate instances traced back to a single crime ring.