Jefferson County Grand Jury has returned an 87-count indictment naming
four women and one man in a metro-wide Identity Theft ring.
accuses the group of stealing more than $100,000 from individuals and
businesses between October 2009 and August 2010.
Porter, 44, of Lakewood, is believed to be the ringleader. She has been
charged with racketeering, Violation of Colorado’s Organized Crime
Control Act, in addition to other counts including Identity Theft, Aggravated
Motor Vehicle Theft, and Forgery.
The four other participants
are Michael West, 46, Lakewood; Robin Newberry, 45, Lakewood; Wendy
Montano, 45, Aurora; and Pamela Rowe, 48, Westminster. They have each
been charged according to their degree of participation.
indictment alleges that the group, acting as an organized enterprise,
stole personal and financial information from individuals and businesses,
then used the information to defraud victims’ credit and bank accounts.
They created fraudulent checks using the stolen information and then
used them to purchase merchandise throughout the metro Denver area.
to the indictment, the members would use the stolen names, dates of
birth, drivers’ license numbers and Social Security numbers of victims to open accounts online,
or in person, and deposit forged checks into the accounts. They would
then empty the account and move on.
active ID Theft ring would also use the stolen identities and Social
Security numbers of the victims to open credit card accounts and credit
accounts at businesses, rent cars, to open accounts at financial institutions
or online to access cash and purchase merchandise.
of the enterprise would sell or pawn the stolen or fraudulently obtained
merchandise to finance their operation as well as their daily living
expenses and their methamphetamine use.
ID Theft ring is a little different from others we’ve seen,” said
DA Storey, “in addition to merchandise that was purchased using stolen
personal and financial identifying information, the participants of
this ring opened credit accounts in jewelry stores then purchased thousands
of dollars of high end pieces and turned around and pawned them for
Investigation Began in Arvada
investigation into this ID Theft ring began when Arvada Police took
a complaint from the Red Lion Hotel when their credit card was used
without authorization in the amount of $5,141. The investigation
continued until August 2010 when these five were indicted.
individuals and 36 businesses were named as victims in the indictment.
Many of the victims live in Washington. Victim businesses included banks,
credit unions, King Soopers, Safeway, convenience stores, Zales, Helzberg,
Jared’s, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Colorado Coalition for the
Homeless. One of the identities they stole belonged to a woman who was
Porter and Robin Newberry have been arrested. Warrants have been issued
for the arrest of the other three suspects.