Teenage Identity Theft RingBusted

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TACOMA, Wash. - (01/27/06) – A 22-year-old man and hisgirlfriend were arrested this week and charged with running anidentity theft ring that used area teenagers to steal as much as $1million from 100 credit union and bank customers. Some of the teenssold their parents’ checking account numbers to the ring.Authorities said Omar Calhoun and his girlfriend, 20-year-oldMarita Wilson, used the teens to obtain credit union and bankaccount and debit PINs, which they used to forge and cash checks,usually $2,000 to $15,000 per stolen ID. They would then withdrawmoney from the accounts before the checks cleared. The checks wereusually high-quality forgeries, so they cleared, and the victimsdidn’t know their accounts had been tapped until the werecontacted by their credit union or bank or the police. Some of theteens were intimidated into providing the numbers, but others soldthem to the ring, authorities said. Some of the teens eventuallybecame ‘runners’ who approached other teens andconvinced them to turn over account information to Calhoun. Often,the victims turned out to be the teens’ parents, who sharedaccounts with their children.

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