Tri-state identity fraud case ruins woman's credit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tri-state identity fraud case ruins woman's credit

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ARLINGTON,  GA (WALB) - A Florida woman got her identity back Monday after her driver's license was stolen last month and used to produce and cash dozens of forged checks in three states.

Two Florida women were arrested in Arlington a couple weeks ago after trying to cash one of those checks. Now, police are discovering just how large this identity theft case really is.

The woman accused of cashing fake checks in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama confessed. But said she cashed so many phony checks, she can't even remember all the businesses she ripped off.

Zoe White got her driver's license back today at the Arlington Police Station. It was stolen on September 21st when she was registering for classes at George C. Wallace community college in Dothan.

"Then On October 3rd, I got a letter in the mail from Tallahassee Publix saying I owed them like $400," said White.

Her identity had been compromised. After the first letter, she received several more from businesses in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama informing White she owed them money after checks in her name bounced.

"It's a computer system you can get for your computer to write checks," said Arlington Police Chief Casey Taylor.

The woman police charged with the tri-state identity fraud case is 26-year-old Marissa Jefferson. She was arrested along with her car passenger Sharon Brown in Arlington October 16th when she tried cashing a payroll check for nearly $500 at Taylor's Market.  The suspicious owner called police.

"I stopped the rental vehicle, I discovered two computers, more checks, and a printer," said Chief Taylor.

Police have confirmed checks cashed by Jefferson in three Georgia cities including Albany, Donalsonville, and Blakely...Talahasee, Florida...and 4 Alabama cities...Andalusia, Snead, Opp, and Dothan.

Let this be a warning to business owners.

"If they have any doubt there is such a business, don't cash the check," said the Chief.

And take a close look at the picture on an ID. A closer look would have saved White a lot of trouble.

"This is the year you can get the $8,000 tax credit. My husband and I were thinking about purchasing a new home this year. I'm just concerned this will hurt my credit," said White.

Credit she worked hard to improve, only to be destroyed by a scam she couldn't control.

A forensic team from Andalusia, Alabama police department took the computer found in Jefferson's car. They are going through the files to determine just how many the businesses affected by this scam.

Police believe there are several more yet to be reported...resulting in thousands of dollars in losses to those business.

Police say if you do misplace your license don't just go purchase a new one. File a police report.


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