Authorities arrest man in a major case of identity theft


It was a story seen only on KCTV5 News.

Dozens of blank credit cards, about $80,000 in cash, and an unknown number of possible victims.

That’s the focus of a major identity theft investigation in Johnson County.

The suspect, Jared Santiapallai, is from Canada. He came to the United States and stayed at the Lenexa Inn, where authorities found evidence that could put Santiapallai behind bars for a long time.

Sources tell us federal agents first spotted Santiapallai Tuesday near 95th and Antioch. They say he was withdrawing money from several banks. Agents stopped and questioned him, and during the questioning, found several credit cards with no numbers or names.

“I think it’s very disconcerting to see that somebody was in possession of so many tools of the trade, ready to defraud so many people and financial institutions of their money, said retired FBI Special Agent Michael Tabman.

After the questioning, agents went to Santiapallai’s room at the Lenexa Inn. There, they found dozens more blank credit cards, the aforementioned $80,000 in cash, and a re-encorder, a machine used to create fake cards with stolen identities.

Tabman said identity theft has come a long way.

“Every advancement we make with technology, credit cards, debit cards, is another way for someone to defraud us. Not that we shouldn’t use these tools, but we need to be careful and alert to our own accounts and watch out for the fraud,” Tabman shared with KCTV5 News.

Santiapallai has been charged with 14 counts of theft and identity theft.

He’s being held on a bond of a million dollars.

Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency are also involved, raising more questions than providing answers.

“It seems highly unlikely that DEA just stumbled upon someone at an ATM machine, so I would think this was part of a bigger investigation,” said Tabman.

KCTV5 News contacted the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office with questions about the case. The office said it had no comment.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.



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