Identity theft ring busted in Colorado

Posted on: December 1, 2010

Identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S. These low-life criminals prey on unsuspected victims who are stuck with thousands of dollars in bills and numerous hours of clearing up their credit. However, recently, in Golden, Colorado two people have been arrested and three more people are being sought in an ID theft ring.

The thieves have been indicted on an 87 counts of stealing more than $100,000 from individuals and businesses between October 2009 and August 2010. For almost a year they were acting as an organized enterprise, stole personal and financial information from individuals and businesses, then used the information to defraud victims’ credit and bank accounts. They created fraudulent checks using the stolen information and then used them to purchase merchandise throughout the metro Denver area.

According to the indictment, the members would use the stolen names, dates of birth, drivers’ license numbers and Social Security numbers of victims to open accounts online, or in person, and deposit forged checks into the accounts. They would then empty the account of money and move on. They would also use the stolen identities and Social Security numbers of the victims to open credit card accounts and credit accounts at businesses, rent cars and open accounts at financial institutions or online to access cash and purchase merchandise.

This sophisticated ID theft ring was led by Teresa Porter age 44 of Lakewood. She has four other accomplices, Michael West, 46, Robin Newberry, 45, Wendy Montano 45, and Pamela Rowe 48.

But they didn’t stop with just merchandise, they also used the stolen personal and financial identity information to open credit accounts in jewelry stores then purchased thousands of dollars of high-end pieces and turned around and pawned them for the money.

In all, there were nineteen individuals and 36 businesses victimized by these criminals.  Businesses included banks, credit unions, King Soopers, Safeway, convenience stores, Zales, Helzberg, Jared’s, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. The worst identity theft victim belonged to a woman who was dead. Is there nothing that these low-life criminals would do for money?

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