More charges could be filed in identity theft case

More charges may be filed against a former employee of the Mason County Detention Center related to identity theft of MCDC inmates.

The investigation into allegations Belinda A. Morton, 43, of Maysville stole the identity of two former inmates of MCDC to obtain credit cards is ongoing and being led by Chief Deputy Chuck Fritz, said Sheriff Patrick Boggs Thursday.

Morton was arrested Wednesday on identity theft of another without consent charge(s).

According to the warrant, two inmates, one male and one female, of MCDC 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 Secret.

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.

Boggs said part of the investigation is to seek out several individuals whose names appeared on correspondence found during the execution of search warrants at two residences Wednesday. The residence on Central Avenue is believed to be Morton’s residence and the residence on Clark Street is believed to be occupied by a relative of Morton.  Boggs said the investigation will also determine if Morton acted alone in the identity theft or if others are involved.

Boggs said Jailer Gerald Curtis was unaware the complaints had been filed or there was an investigation until Morton was arrested Wednesday. Morton was lodged in the Lewis County Detention Center versus the Mason County Detention Center for safety reasons given her status as a formed deputy.

Curtis said Thursday he was shocked about her arrest and there was no indication she was using inmate information to obtain credit cards.  Morton was hired in January 2012.

Morton was fired because it was discovered she had given her telephone number to a male inmate, who was placing calls to Morton from the MCDC inmate phone.

Also found during the search warrant was MCDC apparel issued to Morton; two uniforms, six pair of pants and two polo shirts.

Curtis said deputies are issued five to six uniforms and uniform inventory is tracked at the jail. He said former employees are given a reasonable amount of time to return uniforms and there have been no problems in the past. He said Morton had returned the majority of her uniforms.

He said the policy will be reviewed.

When asked about Morton’s access to inmate information, Curtis explained deputies conduct multiple tasks while on duty. Those duties include taking personal information during the bookkeeping process and having the inmate file in their possession during courtroom appearances.

He confirmed background checks are conducted on those seeking employment with MCDC. Morton’s background check revealed she was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of third-degree terroristic threatening in 2005. A fourth-degree assault charge was dismissed and her background was clean after the 2005 incident.

Curtis said the two former inmates who complained to the sheriff’s office have not been incarcerated at MCDC for several months.  The female was released in June 2013 and the male in January 2013.  He said the female was also arrested in January 2013 and Morton handled the booking process on that date.

Mason County Attorney John Estill said he couldn’t comment on the case because it is an active prosecution.  When asked, he confirmed Morton, Mason County Fiscal Court and Curtis could be sued by the individuals whose identity was allegedly stolen.

According to jailtracker.com, no bond or court date has been set for Morton in Mason County District Court.

Article source: http://www.maysville-online.com/news/local/more-charges-could-be-filed-in-identity-theft-case/article_e2e2a9f3-6f18-5eb9-815e-6c1b16f81d05.html

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