3 Arrested After Stealing Identities of Several Florida Condo Collapse Victims for Shopping
At least three people were arrested on Wednesday in connection to the stealing of the identities of several Florida condo collapse victims, that were utilized for shopping online.
Prosecutors announced that Betsy Alexandro Cacho Medina, Rodney Choute, and Kimberly Michael Johnson, were arrested and federally charged after they stole at least seven identities from the victims of the Florida condo collapse. The suspects, aged 30, 38, and 34 respectively, were reported to be from Northeast Miami-Dade.
3 Suspect Federally Charged After Stealing Identities from Florida Condo Collapse Victims
The three suspects that were arrested were accused of using the information of the tragedy's victims to go on "exorbitant" shopping sprees, NBC News reported.
Furthermore, the three were also accused to use the information of the condo collapse victims to get or replace credit cards.
In a news conference on Wednesday, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said that the suspect immediately started purchasing between July 7 and 9. The state attorney furthered that in just two days, there were 28 attempted transactions, including at an ATM at Aventura Mall which was recorded on a closed-circuit TV.
Some purchases of the suspect included a pair of Medusa Sandals amounting to $374 and a Versace purse valued at nearly $1,700. Other purchases include goods at Target. Moreover, Rundle also noted that the suspects stole at least $45,000 using the identities of the Florida condo collapse victims. The trio tried to make an additional $67,000 worth of withdrawals and purchases but was unsuccessful.
Among the federal charges slammed to the suspects include organized schemes to defraud, trafficking in credit cards, and use in fictitious identification and identity theft. A $1 million bond was set for Medina, $500,000 for Johnson, and $430,000 for Choute. If convicted, each suspect faces up to 15 to 30 years of imprisonment.
Identity Theft Among Florida Condo Collapse Victims Discovered
State Attorney Rundle mentioned that the incident was first noticed by Nicole Ortiz, sister of Ana Ortiz who died in the Florida condo collapse tragedy.
The sister claimed that she noticed strange emails showing up on the victim's iPad, sharing a change of address, contact information, and password changes on Ortiz's bank accounts and credit cards. Nicole Ortiz also shared that she saw emails with a connection to money transfers.
Ana Ortiz was one of the seven victims whose identity was stolen. Reports reveal that five of the identity theft victims died during the June 24 tragedy that killed at least 98 people.
Rundle said that Medina was recorded ordering for a replacement credit under Ana Ortiz, and asked that it be sent to Hallandale Beach. Rundle highlighted that the trio did not occupy the home. Instead, they used the residence as a drop location for the credit cards.
Another victim identified as S.K. also claimed that her federal assistance that she asked from FEMA was also changed to be sent in Hallandale.
As the suspects who stole the identities of Florida condo collapse victims were placed under the custody of the authorities, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that the crime committed by the trio were "abhorrent."
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written By: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Arrests Made in Identity Theft Targeting Florida Condo Collapse Victims - From CBS Evening News
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