A federal grand jury has handed up an indictment that charges a temporary employee at a Chicago-area AT&T office with stealing the personal information of some 2,100 employees of the telecom giant.
Two others involved in the scheme also were indicted and charged with stealing $70,000 by applying for “payday loans” using some of the stolen confidential data, according to the indictment handed up last week.
The trio, all women, also forged driver's licenses bearing the names of victims, using photos of random people, and faxed them as part of the loan applications.
The women, Cassandra Walls, 25; Jermaine Jones, 27; and Deedra Massey, 40, set up bank accounts and had the loan money wired to them, according to the indictment. The three are charged with five counts each of federal wire fraud and identity theft.
A company called PayDay One took information for the loan applications over the internet, ostensibly for 130 victims – except that the applications, according to the indictment, were made “without the knowledge or consent” of the victims.
In fact, many of the victims did not find out about the fraudulent loans until they were overdue, and the victims were contacted by collection agencies, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
If the women are convicted, they will have to forfeit the $70,000, along with their computer equipment, and also face time in federal prison. Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; each count of identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years on top of any other sentence.