Sunday, September 6, 2009

Identity Theft Ring Used a Bewigged Woman to Cash Checks at Banks

A sophisticated identity theft ring whose victims included Anna Bernanke, the wife of the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, often sent a woman wearing wigs into bank branches to drain accounts, the authorities said Tuesday.

The authorities said they were holding Shonya Michelle Young, 38, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., at a federal detention center in Miami on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Magistrate Judge William Turnoff ordered Ms. Young held until Thursday, when another hearing will be held to determine when she will be transferred to federal custody in Virginia. Prosecutors said Ms. Young had been a fugitive for more than two months.

The theft ring had hundreds of victims in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and elsewhere. They included Anna Bernanke, whose purse was stolen outside a coffee shop on Capitol Hill in August 2008. Someone started cashing checks using the Bernankes’ bank account days later.

Ten people accused of belonging to the theft ring have been charged, and other fugitives are being sought, the authorities said.

Clyde Austin Gray Jr. of Waldorf, Md., who is suspected of being the ringleader, pleaded guilty on July 22 in federal court in Alexandria, Va.

New York Times

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