The Pueblo County Sheriff’s office has arrested five suspects linked to a huge identity theft ring that affected more than 70 victims.
The investigation began in December 2011 when looking into a possible check fraud case. A victim reported that numerous blank checks were stolen from a mailbox in the Westpark community of Pueblo in September.
Detective Anthony Colletti discovered about 71 checks totaling $14,000 had been written and were forged. Surveillance video from several Pueblo businesses linked investigators to potentially five suspects.
Detectives searched a home in the 1700 block of Morrison Ave. in January where they found numerous torn fraudulent ID cards, a scanner/printer/copier, a laminator and numerous other documents with other people’s names on them.
A search warrant of a suspect’s laptop then led investigators to 49 more fraudulent IDs with pictures of the suspects on them.
Most of the names were real victims, same names were fictitious.
After investigating further with the victims, detectives uncovered numerous other mail theft and fraud cases that were unreported.
Officials say that stolen credit cards were also found and had been used in numerous states including Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
More than 70 victims have been identified in the case, including businesses. The aggregate amounts exceeds $30,000.
Warrants were initially issued on numerous counts of identity theft for the following:
Jamie Wetmore (34 yo female, Laurie Cordova (29 yo female), Bree Agee (30 yo female), Ember Peaslie (35 yo female) and Guillermina Medina (45 yo female).
All five female suspects were arrested over the last three months. Three remain in custody. The initial bond was set at $50,000 per individual.
The District Attorney’s Office has also filed an additional charge of COCCA (Colorado Organized Crime Control Act) which is a class II felony. The suspects in the case could face a maximum of 48 years in prison.