I.D. theft ring customers go on trial - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

I.D. theft ring customers go on trial

June 6, 2005

Albany -- Trials for 80 people who used a statewide I.D. theft ring to buy cars started Monday in Dougherty County. These people paid an Albany woman to secure the identities of dead people from newspaper obituaries, identities they used to buy cars.

 Eight of the 80 people facing charges of felony forgery, identity theft, and conspiracy pleaded guilty. The trials of four others got underway.

In January, GBI agents raided the homes of people who had hired Kwezeta Butler to help them buy a car. Prosecutors say the 80 people gave Butler 500 dollars, and she would lead them to the Southlake Mitshubishi car dealership in South Atlanta. The dealership would sell them a car using those stolen I.D.'s.

 Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said "Certainly there were a lot of instances where there was direct information and many other instances that it was pretty clear that there was something crooked was going on."

So far, 26 people have pleaded guilty to being customers of the I.D. theft ring. Those without criminal records were given pre-trial intervention. Others were sentenced to five years probation and fined between 500 to one thousand dollars.

 Prosecutors say the ringleaders of the I.D. theft scheme were Kwezeta Butler of Albany and Pasteur Patcamp, a salesman at the Mitshubishi dealership. Both have pleaded guilty.

Butler will testify at the trials scheduled to continue for the rest of the month.

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