Archive for February, 2016

Woman charged with identity theft in Fairfield

Monday, February 29th, 2016

• Rahkeem McGuire, 30, of Paterson was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and for hindering apprehension on Saturday, Feb. 13, Manna said. Shortly after 1:30 a.m. Officer Diego Ocampo was on patrol in the parking lots of the LaQuinta hotel and the office building of 695 Route 46 West, when he allegedly observed 2005 Dodge that was continually driving between the two parking lots, stopping in each for several minutes, Manna said. Ocampo reported that he felt the activity to be suspicious and ultimately stopped the vehicle, Manna said.

Article source: http://www.newjerseyhills.com/the_progress/news/woman-charged-with-identity-theft-in-fairfield/article_ee3587dc-92d1-544d-90f2-c725f3688950.html

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10 tips to minimise risks of identity theft

Monday, February 29th, 2016

As banks advance with new technologies to fight bank-related fraud, fraudsters are resorting to more subtle ways of stealing personal information so as to perpetrate identity-related fraud.

In the past, criminals focused on stealing ID books so they could replace the photograph and impersonate the victim when applying fraudulently for products or services. They are now collecting diverse personal information, whether it’s an email address or a phone number, and then using this information collectively to take over customer identities.  What is worse is that most of this information is freely shared by bank consumers, without being aware that it can be used by criminals to defraud them.

The role out of the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) biometric verification solution by several banks has made it difficult for criminals to commit identity fraud using tampered ID books as banks can now verify the identity of their clients using their biometric fingerprints.  Criminals are aware that they will now be detected through the HANIS verification solution should they present a tampered ID book.

While it remains extremely important to safeguard your ID document, it is important to know that other personal information is also a valuable commodity for criminals, especially in light of the success of the HANIS biometric verification solution.  Personal information also includes your driving licence, physical address, telephone numbers, email addresses, passwords, PIN’s and any other information that can uniquely identify you.

Criminals also trawl the internet to gather odd bits of information about their victims

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) alerts consumers to other ways that criminals go about gathering personal information in order to impersonate their victims.  One of the more subtle ways in which criminals collect information is through social engineering tactics.  They would call their victim, pretending to be from the bank and trick them into disclosing confidential information like passwords and PINs over the phone.  Emails purporting to be from the bank are also common and of late, some of these emails also have malware attached to them.  Once the malware is installed onto the computer of the victim, the malware steals sensitive information and sends it to the criminals. Criminals also trawl the internet to gather odd bits of information about their victims that they then piece together to form a profile of the victim. While the individual bits of information may be useless in isolation, having a profile of the victim enables the fraudster to step into the shoes of the person being impersonated.

Social media platforms are a valuable source of information for criminals as many consumers have more personal information on their Facebook profile for example, than necessary. “People should be very aware that personal details such as names of their children, their birthdays and their whereabouts, for example, which they post on social media,  could be abused by criminals,” said Pillay, CEO of SABRIC. Other ways in which fraudsters attempt to steal bank customer’s information is by creating fake competitions, directing consumers to spoofed websites and intercepting emails to gain access to private information.

Information gathered using these tactics is then either used to trick the victim into disclosing even more sensitive information that is used to impersonate the victim in fraudulent activities.

The theft of personal information has  resulted in a number of South Africans being defrauded with some only finding out that they have been a victim of identity theft when they apply for new credit facilities such as home and car loans.  “Identity theft can happen to anyone and is costly to remedy once your credit profile has been affected.  This is why it is important for consumers to stay abreast of how identity fraud trends change so that they can protect themselves” said Pillay.

Identity theft can happen to anyone and is costly to remedy once your credit profile has been affected

The South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) has managed to save its members, which include the banks, more than R8-billion in fraud preventions through early detection of identity fraud.  The SAFPS believes more monies could be saved if bank customers were more vigilant in protecting their personal information.

Why do criminals steal personal information?  “They do this so that they can fraudulently access monies or credit facilities that their victims qualify for,“ explained Pillay.

Follow these 10 tips to minimise the risk of falling victim to identity theft:

  • Make sure that all your accounts have strong passwords that are not easy to decipher
  • Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email
  • Shred all documents that contain your personal information and do not throw away anything that someone else could use to impersonate you
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse
  • Be selective with the type of information that you share on social media sites and make use of strict privacy settings
  • Do not get taken in by scammers who send messages telling you that you have won a prize, or inherited monies as they could be trying to defraud you
  • Store personal and financial documents safely and always lock them away
  • Don’t use Internet Cafes or unsecure terminals such as hotels and conference centres to do your banking
  • Should your ID or driving  licence be stolen, report it to the SAPS and the SAFPS immediately
  • To prevent your ID from being used to commit fraud, if it is ever lost or stolen, you should alert the SAFPS on 0860 101 248 or at safps.org.za

Article source: http://southlandssun.co.za/53453/10-tips-to-minimise-risks-of-identity-theft/

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YPD offers tips to prevent identity theft

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Advice to prevent ID theft

Advice to prevent ID theft

Detective John Contrabasso, with the Yuma Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, talks about methods used to steal someone’s identity, and steps to take to prevent identity theft. 

Reading all about it

Reading all about it

People should be hyper-vigilant about protecting their identity from thieves, which includes reading materials available at the Yuma Police Department. 

Advice from the Financial Crimes Unit

Advice from the Financial Crimes Unit

Detective Adrian Roman, with the Yuma Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, talks about methods used to steal someone’s identity, and steps to take to prevent identity theft. 

Discussing the issue

Discussing the issue

Detective John Contrabasso, with the Yuma Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, talks about methods used to steal someone’s identity, and steps to take to prevent identity theft. 

Advice from the YPD

Advice from the YPD

A lot of information, in both English and Spanish, about preventing identity thefts and not becoming victims of scams is available from the Yuma Police Department. 



Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2016 2:30 am

YPD offers tips to prevent identity theft

By James Gilbert, @YSJamesGilbert

Yumasun.com

Identity theft is one of the most frequently occurring crimes in the world, and Detectives John Contrabasso and Adrian Roman, of the Yuma Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, say that unfortunately, no one is completely safe from it.

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information – such as your name, date of birth, social security number or bank account information, without your permission and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes.

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      Sunday, February 28, 2016 2:30 am.

      Article source: http://www.yumasun.com/business/ypd-offers-tips-to-prevent-identity-theft/article_875cab24-dda0-11e5-912a-d79420596e8b.html

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      New effort to close identity theft loophole

      Sunday, February 28th, 2016

      Connecticut

      1 comment(s) ||
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      Friday, February 26, 2016 2:05 AM EST

      New effort to close identity theft loophole


      HARTFORD — State prosecutors are looking to close a loophole they set lets some identity thieves that filch debit cards get off easy.

      At this time, someone caught holding stolen debit cards that have not been used can only be charged with sixth-degree larceny for each card in their possession, said Leonard C. Boyle, the deputy chief state’s attorney.

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      Article source: http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2016/02/27/news/connecticut/941808.txt

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      Identity theft accounts for ‘majority of data breaches’

      Sunday, February 28th, 2016

      Theft of identities along with personal information still accounts for the majority of data breaches, a new global survey by Gemalto has found.

      According to the 2015 Breach Level Index (BLI), identity theft accounted for 53% of all data breaches as well as 40% of “all compromised records” last year.

      Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto, said of the findings: “In 2014, consumers may have been concerned about having their credit card numbers stolen … however, in 2015 criminals shifted to attacks on personal information and identity theft.”

      He was also quick to point out that as organizations and devices continue to collect personal data from their users, trust becomes the most important factor when it comes to deciding whom to go into business with.

      The BLI is a database that tracks global data breaches, measuring their significance according to a number of variants including whether or not the data was encrypted, as well as the source of the breach.

      The survey also reveals that healthcare and government data breaches have overtaken those in the retail sector.

      The government sector accounted for 43% of compromised data records, mainly as a result of several very large data breaches in the US.

      The healthcare sector accounted for 19% of compromised data records while retail saw a significant 93% drop in the number of data breaches in 2015.

      According to the BLI, 77% of all data breaches occurred in North America while 12% occurred in Europe. The Asia Pacific region accounted for 8% in total.

      Mr. Hart also had some words of advice with regards to companies protecting themselves from data breaches, stating that: “Even if a breach occurs, it can be a secure breach if the right security technologies such as encryption are properly in place to protect the most important and sensitive data.”

      Author , We Live Security

      Article source: http://www.welivesecurity.com/2016/02/25/identity-theft-accounts-majority-data-breaches/

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      Identity theft suspect sentenced – WALB

      Sunday, February 28th, 2016

      VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –

      A Statesboro man, charged with identity theft, was sentenced for his crimes in Valdosta Friday. Senior United States District Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced 39-year-old Jai Devon Lee to serve 101 months for aggravated identity theft and access device fraud.

      Lee was convicted of charges in October 2015, following a two-day trial in Valdosta. Evidence in the trial included Lee’s possession of personal identification information, such as names, social security numbers, and dates of birth of more than 1,000 people. All of the stolen information was used for fraudulent purposes.

      U.S. Secret Service officials received a tip that Lee had been trying to sell the personal identifying information (PII) for $50 each.

      Officials arranged a meeting with Lee and a Secret Service agent, posing as a buyer looking to purchase 900 of the documents for $45,000.00.

      Lee arrived to the scene with a backpack containing more stolen information, including some personal credit reports. He was then arrested and taken into custody.

      “Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes in the United States today. The results can be devastating, depriving the victims not only of their money but of their reputation, credit rating and peace of mind. People who prey on their fellow citizens in the manner of Mr. Lee are nothing more than predators. Hopefully this prosecution and sentence will send the message to others who might be similarly inclined that they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law when caught,” said U.S. Attorney G.P. Peterman, III in a report.

      Lee has an extensive criminal record, including nine prior felony convictions. 

      Lowndes County Sheriff’s officials and the U.S. Secret Service collaborated with the case.

      Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.

      Article source: http://www.walb.com/story/31328858/identity-theft-suspect-sentenced

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      Ringleader Convicted in Bank Fraud, Identity-Theft Scheme

      Saturday, February 27th, 2016



      Kathy Welsh

      jail - man behind barsGOSHEN – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on Friday, February 26, 2016, the conviction of ringleader Tyrone “Reece” Lee, 29, for running an identity-theft ring that stole over $457,000 from customers of Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) in Newburgh, N.Y.

      Following a trial in Orange County Court, the jury convicted Lee of all 15 Counts charged, including Grand Larceny and Identity Theft.  Lee, who is already serving a sentence of 4 ½ to 9 years in prison for operating a similar identity-theft scheme in Westchester County, faces up to 20 years in prison.

      “Today’s conviction shows that those who steal New Yorkers’ personal financial information will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will do everything that we can to protect innocent businesses and their customers from the growing problem of identity theft.”

      “This defendant with the help of his co-conspirator penetrated the security of the banks that we depend upon for the safety of our finances. His criminal conduct undermined the integrity of our financial system and robbed the victims of the security they seek from our financial institutions,” said New York State Department of Financial Service Acting Superintendent Maria Vullo. “We thank the Attorney General for aggressively prosecuting this case and addressing the serious problem of identity theft within the State of New York.”

      During the course of trial, the prosecutors presented evidence that from June 2010 to August 2011, Lee was the leader of a bank fraud ring that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the accounts of Wachovia Bank customers.

      The evidence at trial included testimony by Lee’s accomplice, Nadia Figueroa, recorded telephone calls of Lee impersonating a Wachovia customer, and a text message exchanged between Lee and Figueroa comparing the fraud detection procedures of Wachovia to that of Chase Bank.

      The evidence at trial showed that Lee initiated his scheme by recruiting his girlfriend, Figueroa, to obtain a position as a bank teller at a Wachovia branch located at 41 North Plank Road in Newburgh, New York.

      Once she was hired at the Newburgh branch, Lee directed Figueroa on how and what customer data to steal, instructing her to search for common names and to copy specific information including account numbers, social security numbers and signature cards.  Many of the accounts victimized were selected by a practice known as “name surfing,” wherein Figueroa illegally searched Wachovia’s customer database for common names, states of residence, and high account balances.

      Figueroa testified that at Lee’s direction, during the approximately seven weeks of her employment, Figueroa accessed the personal identification information of over 200 Wachovia bank account holders without conducting any financial transactions regarding those accounts.  Figueroa then gave this information to Lee, who in turn enlisted other co-conspirators to withdraw funds from the compromised accounts.  Lee obtained fraudulent driver’s licenses containing the pictures of other co-conspirators and the names of compromised bank account holders, which were then used at the out-of-state bank branches to convince bank tellers to process fraudulent withdraws from the accounts of customers.

      Using the stolen account information and forged licenses, Lee withdrew funds from 77 customer accounts at branches located in Nassau County and New York City, as well as in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.  In total, Lee and his co-conspirators stole approximately $457,980 from Wachovia between July 2010 and August 2011.

      Among the 123 different Wachovia branches whose customers were victims of identity theft are:

      • 3584 Long Beach Road, Oceanside, N.Y.
      • 3709 Riverdale Avenue, Bronx, N.Y.
      • 1076 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y.
      • 339 Hemingway Avenue, East Haven, C.T.
      • 150 Elm Street, Westfield, N.J.
      • 13140 U.S. Highway 301, Riverview, F.L.

      Today, before the Honorable Nicholas De Rosa in Orange County Curt, the jury found Lee guilty of one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class C felony), 13 Counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a Class D felony), and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a Class E felony).  Lee is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2016 and faces up to 20 years in state prison.

      In September 2014, Lee and Figueroa were arrested and charged by the Attorney General’s Office, along with three other individuals, for operating a similar identity-theft ring in Westchester County from July 2012 to June 2014.

      As in Orange County, Lee orchestrated the hiring of corrupt bank tellers and also directed them to target customers with common names and over $50,000 in their accounts.  These bank tellers, including Figueroa, fraudulently accessed and stole personal information, including account numbers and Social Security numbers, from hundreds of customers at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and TD Bank. Lee arranged for other ring members to impersonate bank account holders and withdrew over $850,000 at bank branches in Westchester County, New York City and Long Island, as well as Connecticut and Massachusetts.

      Earlier this year, Lee pleaded guilty to the entire 37-count Westchester County indictment against him, including multiple counts of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees and Identity Theft in the First Degree, and was sentenced to 4 ½ to 9 years in state prison. Figueroa pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison. Their three charged co-conspirators in the Westchester scheme also pleaded guilty.

      These prosecutions were the culmination of a long-term investigation by the Attorney General’s Crime Proceeds Strike Force, including court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants.








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      Article source: http://hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com/2016/02/26/ringleader-convicted-bank-fraud-identity-theft-scheme/

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      Identity theft suspect sentenced

      Saturday, February 27th, 2016

      VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –

      A Statesboro man, charged with identity theft, was sentenced for his crimes in Valdosta Friday. Senior United States District Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced 39-year-old Jai Devon Lee to serve 101 months for aggravated identity theft and access device fraud.

      Lee was convicted of charges in October 2015, following a two-day trial in Valdosta. Evidence in the trial included Lee’s possession of personal identification information, such as names, social security numbers, and dates of birth of more than 1,000 people. All of the stolen information was used for fraudulent purposes.

      U.S. Secret Service officials received a tip that Lee had been trying to sell the personal identifying information (PII) for $50 each.

      Officials arranged a meeting with Lee and a Secret Service agent, posing as a buyer looking to purchase 900 of the documents for $45,000.00.

      Lee arrived to the scene with a backpack containing more stolen information, including some personal credit reports. He was then arrested and taken into custody.

      “Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes in the United States today. The results can be devastating, depriving the victims not only of their money but of their reputation, credit rating and peace of mind. People who prey on their fellow citizens in the manner of Mr. Lee are nothing more than predators. Hopefully this prosecution and sentence will send the message to others who might be similarly inclined that they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law when caught,” said U.S. Attorney G.P. Peterman, III in a report.

      Lee has an extensive criminal record, including nine prior felony convictions. 

      Lowndes County Sheriff’s officials and the U.S. Secret Service collaborated with the case.

      Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.

      Article source: http://www.wtoc.com/story/31328858/identity-theft-suspect-sentenced

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      IRS say twice as many taxpayers at risk of identity theft

      Saturday, February 27th, 2016

      Following an incident involving the IRS’s “Get Transcript” application discovered last May, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted a nine-month long investigation looking back to the launch of the application in January 2014 for additional suspicious activity. This expanded review has identified additional suspicious attempts to access taxpayer accounts using sensitive information already in the hands of criminals. The IRS is moving immediately to notify and help protect these taxpayers, including through free identity theft protection services as well as Identity Protection PINs.

      This further review found potential access of approximately 390,000 additional taxpayer accounts during the period from January 2014 through May 2015. In addition, 295,000 taxpayer transcripts were targeted but access was not successful. Mailings to these taxpayers will start February 29. The “Get Transcript” web application has been offline since this incident was discovered in May 2015.

      “The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayers on multiple fronts against tax-related identity theft, and these mailings are part of that effort,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We appreciate the work of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to identify these additional taxpayers whose accounts may have been accessed. We are moving quickly to help these taxpayers.”

      Help For Taxpayers

      As it did last year, the IRS is moving aggressively to protect these additional taxpayers from tax-related identity theft. This includes:

      • Notifying by mail those taxpayers whose transcripts were accessed and those taxpayers whose transcripts were targeted but not accessed. These mailings will provide guidance and notify them that criminals may have their personally identifiable information.
      • Informing taxpayers whose transcripts were accessed that they can request an Identity Protect PIN by completing a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. An IP PIN provides an additional layer of protection for the taxpayer’s SSN on the federal tax return.
      • Offering taxpayers whose returns were accessed a free Equifax identity theft protection product for one year, and encouraging taxpayers to place a “fraud alert” on their credit accounts.
      • Placing extra scrutiny on tax returns with taxpayers SSNs.
      • Placing special markers on these taxpayer accounts to advise IRS assistors that the caller is part of this event.
      • To further protect taxpayers, the IRS also is sharing information about this incident with the states as part of the Security Summit effort. This is part of a larger effort undertaken this tax season to protect against identity theft refund fraud through the Security Summit group, a partnership between the IRS, state revenue departments and the tax industry.

      The IRS takes the security of taxpayer data extremely seriously, and we are working aggressively to protect affected taxpayers and continue to strengthen our systems.

      Additional Information

      On May 26, 2015, the IRS announced it had discovered that criminals, using taxpayer information stolen elsewhere, had been able to pass procedures to access the Get Transcript application on IRS.gov.

      At that time, the IRS identified approximately 114,000 taxpayers whose transcripts had been accessed and about another 111,000 taxpayers whose transcripts were targeted but not accessed. In August 2015, the IRS announced it had identified another 220,000 taxpayers whose transcripts may have been accessed and an approximately 170,000 taxpayers whose transcripts were targeted but not accessed.

      After the IRS made its announcement, TIGTA investigators began their own review, covering from 2014 through May 2015.  TIGTA investigators identified suspicious email addresses that made multiple attempts to access accounts. The IRS notes it is possible that some of those identified may be family members, tax return preparers or financial institutions using a single email address to attempt to access more than one account. However, in an abundance of caution, IRS will notify all taxpayers impacted.

      Status of Get Transcript

      In January 2014, Get Transcript launched on the IRS website. This application allowed taxpayers to have the option of immediately viewing and downloading their tax transcript or having it mailed to their address. Taxpayers could view or order multiple years of transcript information. For the 2015 filing season, approximately 23 million transcripts were ordered.  Since its launch in 2014, 47 million transcripts have been ordered through the Get Transcript tool.

      The online viewing and download feature of “Get Transcript” has been unavailable since May 2015, and the IRS is working to restore that part of the service in the near future with enhanced taxpayer-identity authentication protocols. Other transcript options remain available via IRS.gov, with online requests being taken for mailed copies of transcripts. The IRS reminds taxpayers to plan ahead if they need transcripts; it can typically take five to 10 days before the transcripts arrive in the mail.

      See IRS https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Internal-Revenue-Service-Reminds-Taxpayers-to-Plan-Ahead-If-You-Need-a-Tax-Transcript

      Article source: http://www.wxyz.com/news/irs-say-twice-as-many-taxpayers-at-risk-of-identity-theft

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      Colorado Springs woman accused of ID theft allegedly took over victim’s life

      Saturday, February 27th, 2016
      photo -

      A woman accused of identity theft didn’t just use a former Colorado resident’s information to steal money and rack up credit card charges, she took over the woman’s life, an arrest document shows.

      Kalena Winston, 40, is accused of pretending to be her 27-year-old victim for four years, according to her arrest affidavit. She told her family and friends to call her by her victim’s name, especially in public, to keep up the appearance, the report said.

      Winston was arrested Feb. 14 on suspicion of identity theft and attempting to influence a public servant, both felonies, and theft of less than $50, the affidavit said.

      The victim could not be reached for comment.

      The deception started in April 2012, according to the report. Colorado Springs police Det. Joshua Bliss said Winston’s case is only the second time in his 8 years that the department has investigated an identity takeover.

      Winston told police she met her victim in a downtown Colorado Springs club. When the victim asked her to watch her wallet and keys while she danced, Winston took the wallet and left, the report said.

      That fall, Winston used her victim’s identification to open a line of credit, which she used to rent a car she never returned. Another man was caught driving the vehicle and arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, the report said.

      Winston also received several traffic violations, which she said she “had taken care of” to avoid alerting the victim she was using her identity, the report said. But she didn’t take care of everything.

      The victim was denied renewing her Arkansas driver’s license in October because her driving privileges were suspended in Colorado related to an unpaid $163.50 traffic ticket, the report said. She told authorities she didn’t live in the state anymore.

      A break in the case came when someone used the victim’s information to get a Colorado driver’s license in January. A fingerprint attached to the ID led police to Winston, the report said.

      Police arrested Winston in the 3700 block of Riviera Grove in northeast Colorado Springs, where she admitted to the allegations, the report said.

      Winston was also wanted on a warrant out of Texas and a federal indictment by the Western District of Missouri Attorney’s Office for filing $254,893 in fraudulent tax returns in 2010 and 2011.

      Police requested Winston’s bond be increased to $10,000, but no appearances have been scheduled in El Paso County, court records show.

      Winston was turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office, said police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley.

      Contact Kaitlin Durbin: 636-0362

      Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

      Facebook: Kaitlin Durbin

      Article source: http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-woman-accused-of-id-theft-allegedly-took-over-victims-life/article/1570843

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