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Charges filed in Michigan identity theft ring

Michigan authorities say they have apprehended two West Michigan defendants in connection with a checkbook and identity theft ring. The pair was part of the notorious "Felony Lane" enterprise, based out of another state, in which defendants stole checkbooks and identification cards from women's vehicles. The defendants in this case are facing more than one theft charge for their alleged role in the case.

A 31-year-old man and 34-year-old woman are accused of committing conspiracy, bank fraud and various types of identity theft. The female defendant said she became involved in the ring after being offered the opportunity to earn money without engaging in prostitution.

Officials report that those involved in the crime ring were known for making off with purses. The allegedly targeted areas such as fitness centers and daycare facilities where women were most likely to leave their bags in the car. They would take the victims' checkbooks, bank cards and identification numbers. The leader of the scheme has received a 115-month prison sentence in connection with the crimes.

The defendants in this case had been arrested on state charges back in August, but they were not officially charged until Nov. 5. Official reports show that the defendants were apprehended after a bank reported that the pair was trying to pass a stolen check. A search of the defendants' vehicle revealed a cache of bank and identity cards, along with Social Security cards and other critical documents. Officers also identified tools that could be used to break into victims' vehicles. The defendants had allegedly cashed at least $1,800 in checks from one victim's bank account. In total, six women were targeted.

Criminal defendants such as these two deserve fair trials in the state of Michigan. Even though these people are accused of victimizing scores of women, an arrest and arraignment does not automatically lead to a conviction. Criminal defense attorneys can help those individuals learn more about their rights and responsibilities in the courtroom.

Source: www.mlive.com, "Police arrest two in Florida-based scheme to steal purses, cash stolen checks in West Michigan" John Agar, Nov. 05, 2013

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