In February, a routine traffic stop helped police break open the case of a Charlotte identity-theft ring that has affected unsuspecting people from across the Carolinas and all the way to California.
Jeff King, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detective who specializes in financial fraud cases, stated, “The victims are everywhere.”
Federal officials say that identity theft and credit card fraud have become one of the world’s most chronic financial crimes. More than 17.5 million Americans were victims of these crimes in 2014, with a total loss of $15.4 billion.
The break came when Alexsandera Mobley, a 27-year-old resident of Charlotte with a long criminal history, was pulled over in a routine traffic stop on Feb 20.
As a result of that stop, police discovered nine counterfeit driver’s licenses and 15 credit cards displaying the information of other individuals, according to a search warrant released Mar. 7.
Mobley was pulled over again on Mar. 3. This time, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers found more phony licenses and credit cards.
According to an affidavit by King that accompanied the search warrant, the second batch of IDs was tucked into the driver’s door pocket and featured the same photographs as the first batch.
The Mar. 3 search extended to Mobley’s apartment, where officers discovered several pages of credit reports and cell phone contracts that belonged to other people.
King’s affidavit stated that Mobley’s apartment had been rented by a woman who lives in California. King contacted the woman and confirmed she had never met Mobley, did not authorize her to rent the apartment in her name, and had not given consent for Mobley to use her personal information.
King believes Mobley was part of a Charlotte ring that “involves a lot of different people” but would not comment on how the ring steals information.
It is known that thieves use a number of techniques to steal identities, such as going through a person’s mail or garbage, watching people enter their PIN numbers at stores, and even extracting credit card numbers from purses or wallets using advanced detection devices.
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