Thomas Co. ID fraud may have funded terror - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. ID fraud may have funded terror

(Thomas Co. Sheriff) (Thomas Co. Sheriff)
(WALB) (WALB)
Det. Scott Newberry (WALB) Det. Scott Newberry (WALB)
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

A Nigerian man is behind bars in Thomas County, charged with several counts of identity fraud.

Federal investigators are now getting involved, after officers found fake passports in the man's possession.

Thomasville Police were called to the Verizon store after an alert employee suspected something wasn't right. What happened next led to an elaborate identity fraud case they've never experienced in this town before.

Surveillance video from February 20th shows 29-year-old Uchenna Azubuike walking into this Verizon store on US 19 in Thomasville.

 "He wanted to add two phones to his plan, and showed that the plan originated in New York. And he is down here in south Georgia, wanting to add phones to his line," said Detective Scott Newberry of the Thomasville Police Department.       

Video shows Azubuike handing over his passport to one employee. Detective Newberry said that employee then called the number associated with the account to confirm the rightful owner. "They got a voicemail. And the voicemail appeared to be a different person than the person they had in the store."

That's when the assistant manager called 911. A couple minutes later, officers arrived at the store. "And as soon as he saw us pull into the parking lot, he grabbed his I.D. and went out the door," Newberry said.

Officers were able to stop him. They say he refused to share any information regarding his identity.  He was then arrested and taken into custody, where fingerprints determined he was Azubuike.

Then they searched his car. "We found 12 more passports with different people's names, with different date of births, and all with his picture on the passports."

Detective Newberry believes these scams committed by Azubuike could possibly have funded a terrorist organization.

Azubuike is now facing 13 charges of identity fraud. He will remain in custody at the Thomas county jail, until he is indicted by a federal grand jury.

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