Alleged identity theft scheme sees 10 Utahns charged

SALT LAKE CITY — Ten people face 66 total criminal charges for allegedly stealing people’s identity to commit thousands of dollars in bank fraud.

Federal prosecutors say they stole mail, opened bank accounts to deposit counterfeit and forged checks and took the identifications of victims to create fake documents and counterfeit checks.

The indictment says one woman got the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, bank account information and credit card numbers from a business she worked at and gave them to others who used them for fraud.

Law enforcement learned of the alleged scheme last July when a bank corporate security officer alerted U.S. postal inspectors that several people were defrauding businesses, individuals, banks and merchants. The indictment lists allegedly fraudulent transactions totaling more than $36,700.

Charged in the indictment are Peata Wilma Schwenke, 30, of West Valley City; Kimmerlee Rae Johnston, 40, of Taylorsville; Lethe V Taisali Peni, 27, of West Valley City; Moses Seu Savea, 29, of Midvale; Angela Mai Schwalger, 37, of Salt Lake City; Lina Tuiso Oga, 25, of West Valley City; Lyric Peniamina Kaula Ete, 26, of West Valley City; Juana Maria Valdez, 28, of West Valley City; Anita Jo Prawitt, 31, of Taylorsville; and Calvin Chad Sharp, 34, of West Jordan.

Johnston is charged in 30 counts and Schwenke in 14. The others face from two to eight counts each.

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