Identity theft ring busted www.privateofficer.com
Identity theft ring cracked http://www.privateofficer.com
The alleged ringleader of a large-scale identity theft operation is behind bars, to be charged with more than 150 felony counts.
Fresno police say Aida Hernandez has been stealing bank account numbers, making fake checks and using them at stores all across the Valley.
Just in the past six months, police say Hernandez used 850 counterfeit checks and tapped into 319 Credit Union accounts.
Detectives say more than 1,000 people have been victimized by Hernandez and at least three accomplices were involved; Erika Castillo, Christopher Michael Brown, and Johnny Morales.
Hernandez was arrested on March 29th at Gottschalk’s at The Fashion Fair Mall.
She is facing 151 felony counts, including 206 counts of fraud, 18 counts of burglary and 16 counts of identity theft.
Castillo has been arrested but police are still looking for Brown and Morales.
“We believe that the potential loss by these four suspects will exceed a half million dollars,” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
The six-month investigation revealed that the suspects used a variety of methods to steal identities and bank account information.
“Sometimes it was residential burglaries or a stolen vehicle. We do believe some of the items were taken from the garbage or mailbox,” said Fresno Police Financial Crimes Detective, Heather Ground.
The fake checks were used at large store chains, such as Kohls, Mervyns, JC Penny, Home Depot, Target, Save-Mart, Walgreens, and a host of other merchants.
“When she was arrested, she had 88 blank counterfeit checks and four fake ID cards with her photo on them,” said Chief Dyer.
Financial crime detectives encourage stores and identity theft victims to report cases to police.
Police also say, a shredder is your best protection to avoid becoming a victim.
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