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

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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.

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