Charlotte Windstream employee used customer data to fraudulently buy thousands of dollars in merchandise www.privateofficer.com
Charlotte NC Jan 30 2012 A Windstream employee is in jail today accused of using customer data to fraudulently buy thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Walter Darnell Austin, 45, of Mt. Pleasant, was arrested Wednesday and is charged with felony identity theft. He is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said warrants also have been issued on felony charges of identity theft trafficking, and obtaining property by false pretenses.
The charges come after a person recently contacted the Rowan Sheriff’s Office about packages being delivered to an abandoned home on Millbridge Road near China Grove. A surveillance operation was set up by the Sheriff’s Office and China Grove police earlier this week, and Austin was stopped as he allegedly tried to take two packages that had been delivered at the home.
Authorities said Austin’s name was not on the packages.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Austin allegedly accessed old files of Windstream customers and used the information to open accounts with online retail companies. Austin then allegedly ordered merchandise from the websites and had the goods delivered to two abandoned houses in Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
Investigators said they found thousands of dollars in merchandise in an office Austin has in Kannapolis.
The Sheriff’s Office said Windstream is cooperating with investigators, and is working to help identify customers who may have been victims in the case.