Criminal Charges: Lawless ladies and a few deceitful dudes
In this week’s edition of Criminal Charges, the focus is on the females. We’ve got a collection of credit card crimes and identity thefts dominated by law-breaking ladies, including a debt collection worker who stole consumers’ information, a legal secretary who used the firm’s plastic to fund a trip for her male exotic dancer side business and a female prison inmate who got ripped off — while behind bars.
- Looking for another reason to hang up on debt collectors? New York State Police have arrested debt collection agency employee Hope M. Dunlap for allegedly using consumer information for her personal gain, the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal reports. Dunlap apparently obtained consumer checking account and credit card information from at least 10 different victims, which she used to buy merchandise online, pay utility bills and go on camping trips.
- Jarriette Richie of Clinton, Md., not only worked as a legal secretary, she also ran a side business — Show N Tell Entertainment, which provided exotic male dancers as entertainment for women. According to a report by the Washington Post, Richie wasn’t very discreet: She stands accused of using a corporate American Express card for a trip to Puerto Rico for her business, charging more than $40,000 in combined airfare and resort costs to law-firm plastic.
- In other employee card theft news, News & Star reports that Paul David Joyce, of Cumbria in the U.K., drove off in a van from his work site with gardening equipment, a credit card and cash, spending about one month using the card for gas and food, later apparently selling the items he had stolen to fund a gambling habit.
- Being behind bars doesn’t guarantee you protection from credit card theft. The Leader-Telegram reports that an inmate at Dunn County Jail in Menomonie, Wis., allegedly had a diamond necklace, diamond ring and a Target Visa credit card stolen after being transferred from a cell on Aug. 20, with the prisoner’s card company indicating a total of $2,405 in charges over 40 different transactions. Jail employee Michelle S. Arellano was charged with the theft. If convicted, Arellano could end up behind bars herself.
- Being in an assisted living community also doesn’t mean your plastic is protected. Melissa F. Langone of Apopka, Fla., has been charged with stealing credit cards and checks from two elderly residents of Equinox Terrace in Manchester, Vt., according to the Rutland Herald Online. Police say that in one of the cases, the daughter of a 91-year-old resident of the facility complained her father’s credit card bill included nearly $1,700 in charges — even though the father is in a wheelchair and only leaves Equinox Terrace for medical appointments.
- A pair of Delaware brothers — one bearing the unlikely but legally changed name Lord Joseph Helaman Mormon Aughenbaugh — have been charged in federal court for operating a massive fraud and identity theft scheme out of a mobile home they shared with their mother, Delaware Online reports. Prosecutors say that Aughenbaugh and his brother, Todd Yurgin, used at least 44 Social Security numbers to falsely acquire more than 100 credit cards. Those cards were then allegedly used to steal at least $500,000.
- Police are on the lookout for a thief who used stolen credit cards in the Prince Frederick, Md., area to make purchases in the amount of $10,000 at various clothing stores in early August. According to Southern Maryland Online, the suspect is an extremely thin African-American female with a large scar on her chest who was described by store employees as “very pregnant” at the time of the incidents. Guess she was stealing for two.
- The Austin American-Statesman reports that following a six-month investigation, the sheriff’s office in Hays County, Texas, charged six suspects with multiple vehicle break-ins, identity theft, forging credit cards and checks and making counterfeit $100 bills. Kandice Ann Christensen, Tanya Desirea Bostic, Stephen Ross Barham, Robert Morgan Ransom, Jacquelyn Starry Montoya and Kayla Roberts were arrested for crimes that involve breaking into cars to steal personal identification and credit cards.
- You don’t get much lower than stealing from librarians, but a female member of a street gang, with addresses in both Brooklyn, N.Y., and Allentown, Pa., has been arrested for the August theft of credit cards from library employees in Connecticut. Dashia Bennett and an accomplice allegedly stole five credit cards, which were used for a $6,500 shopping spree, the Hartford Courant reports.
- No wonder she’s his ex: The Northwest Florida Daily News reports a man logged on to his credit union account on April 4, only to discover a total of $477.52 in unauthorized charges. The man immediately suspected his ex-wife, Terri Hamilton of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., of taking a debit card he was supposed to have received in the mail but never did. Hamilton apparently admitted to police that she had taken money from his account because she was unemployed.