Identity theft case to be heard by grand jury

The case of a former deputy at the Mason County Detention Center who allegedly stole the identities of two former inmates has been referred to a grand jury.

Belinda Morton, 43, was arrested March 5, and charged by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of theft of identity of another without consent.

According to executed search warrants filed with the Mason County Circuit Clerk’s office, Morton became a suspect in an investigation by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office that began in January.

According to the warrant, two former inmates of MCDC, one male and one female, contacted MCSO around Jan. 29 with complaints of identity theft.  One victim reported her name, Social Security number and other identifying information was used to apply for a number of credit cards, including Barclay’s Bank and Victoria’s Secret.

The cards issued under the female’s name were used on a variety of occasions, including withdrawals from ATM locations in Mason County. 

The male inmate reported a credit card application was submitted using his information to Capital One and approved, but the card had not been used.

On March 10, Morton entered a not guilty plea to the charges in Mason County District Court.  During a preliminary hearing in Mason County District Court on Monday, March 17, Judge Frank McCartney ruled probable cause had been established after listening to testimony, sending the case before a grand jury.

The next Mason County grand jury is scheduled to convene on March 28.

Morton’s bond was reduced to a $2,500 cash bond during Monday’s hearing.  She was released from Lewis County Detention Center on March 18, where she has been incarcerated since her arrest.  Incarceration at MCDC was denied because of her former status as a deputy until Feburary, when she was fired for giving her telephone number to a male inmate.

The case remains under investigation by the MCSO.

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