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Workers help nab ID theft suspects


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alert CitiFinancial employees helped authorities catch two members of a sophisticated national identity theft ring who were on Oahu to rip off at least $30,000 from the loan company and then move on, said Chris Van Marter, deputy prosecutor.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment on racketeering charges yesterday against Audrey L. Collins, 43, and Willie E. Briggs, 47, both from Los Angeles. The indictment also charges Collins with first-degree identity theft, attempted first-degree theft and unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. The indictment also charges Briggs with being an accomplice to both first-degree identity theft and attempted first-degree theft.

Circuit Judge Derrick Chan confirmed cash-only bail for each at $100,000.

Van Marter said that after arriving on Maui last month, the pair received loan application packets for six women including fake identification cards, credit cards, Social Security cards and support documents.

He said the pair admitted that they were instructed to apply for personal loans of $5,000 at six separate CitiFinancial branches, cash the loan checks and wire the money to the mainland. He said loan checks higher than $5,000 are difficult to cash because banks put a temporary hold on them.

He said a branch manager and another employee noticed similar loan applications were submitted at the six branches, and when they looked at the support documents, found Collins' picture on driver's licenses from six different states with six different names.