2 Anchorage women accused of fraud, theft of over 200 identities
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two women from Anchorage have been indicted on charges related to identity theft and fraud, including the theft of over 200 identities, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
Valerie Calip, 42, and Jennifer Haydu, 33, have been charged with conspiracy, fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. The pair are accused of defrauding elderly victims, including extracting over $100,000 from one elder with dementia.
The women were able to steal mail, checkbooks and identity documents from various victims, and then used that stolen information to create new, falsified identity documents which allowed them to open bank accounts and credit cards in the names of the victims, the release said. The two also allegedly transferred funds from the accounts of their victims using cash transfer apps.
If convicted, both of the women face a mandatory sentence of two years for each count of aggravated identity theft, in addition to 30 years for “the most serious indictment counts.”
The two are also accused of defrauding the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity out of $10,000 by making in-person withdrawals at a Wells Fargo Bank branch. Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Anchorage Peter Taylor says that while the loss of funds is inconvenient for the organization, the group is more concerned with the wellbeing of the person whose identity was falsely used to make the withdrawal.
“The loss is not material to Habitat’s ability to meet its commitments,” Taylor said in an email. “Unfortunately, the person whose identity was stolen in association with our loss continues to suffer a great deal of time-consuming distress and inconvenience. The consequences of identity fraud can be huge for the individuals affected.”
The case against Calip and Haydu will be prosecuted by U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Ryan Tansey. The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating the case as well, utilizing tips provided by the Anchorage Police Department.
Those who believe they may be victims can contact the United States Attorney’s office at (907) 271-3661. The Justice Department’s National Elder Fraud Hotline can be contacted at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).
This story has been updated to include additional information.
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