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Woman apprehended in identity-theft scheme faces 80 charges

Sheriff's deputies in a city about 2 hours southwest of Columbia recently apprehended a 23-year-old woman who allegedly made multiple purchases at Amazon.com using another person's checking account. The woman now faces 80 criminal counts, including 40 charges of financial fraud.

A week before Christmas, a man reported that his bank account had been illegally accessed and used to make purchases from the online retailer. Investigators served a court order to Amazon.com and found that the merchandise had been sent to an apartment registered in a man's name. Further investigation determined that the same man was also a victim of the woman's scheme. The woman had used his name and address to receive stolen merchandise.

In addition to the 40 counts of financial identity fraud charges, the woman faces charges of providing false statements and writings, financial transaction card fraud and printing, executing or negotiating fictitious checks. She is in custody with no bond pending.

The Internet has become such a large part of the lives of many Americans that it has not only modernized the ways in which people do their financial transactions but also attracted criminals who have learned various ways to breach privacy settings.

Fraud that stems from Internet crimes such as identity theft is often punishable by both criminal and civil penalties. If convicted, the accused may be subject to incarceration and be ordered to pay restitution and fines.

Because of the seriousness of an accusation, defending oneself against a charge of Internet crime can be difficult. Even with legal and technical knowledge, a person accused of identity fraud needs an effective criminal defense to secure the best outcome. The accused should enlist the services of a qualified legal professional to get the charges reduced or dropped or settle the charges through a plea agreement.

Source: Statesboro Herald, "Woman charged with 80 counts in ID theft," Dec. 31, 2013

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