JEFFERSON COUNTY - Nine people have been arrested and charged with a major identity theft ring throughout the Denver metro area.
Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir says dozens of people and businesses have been targeted and more than $30,000 has been stolen over the course of six months.
Dr. Starr Leva is one of dozens of victims in the crime spree. He says he learned he was targeted back in June of 2013, when a check cashing company kept calling him to confirm his identity.
"They wanted to cash paychecks, and I only have one employee here and I write her check. Then I noticed checks had gotten cashed, and I still had the check numbers in my possession," Leva said.
Weir says the nine people have been indicted on a total of 165 charges which include racketeering, forgery and identity theft.
The suspects have been identified as:
- Angela Vigil, 35
- Peter Moreland, 31
- Sean Wyles, 32
- Samantha Sierra, 23
- Kevin Heckman, 35
- Tiffanie Bevilacqua, 43
- Micah Young, 32
- Charlotte Valdez, 28
- Juan Castaneda, 35
"They would take that personal information and use computers and other methods to generate checks drivers licenses and ID cards," Weir said.
A more than 100 page indictment says the suspects used the stolen money at several stores including Walmart, 7-Eleven, banks and restaurants. Weir says it's important to never leave personal identifying information in cars or mailboxes. That's how he said the suspects were able to retrieve identities.
Leva says because his personal information was stolen through his mailbox, he now keeps his box locked up and says he is more cautious about where he puts his personal information
Weir says if you write checks to pay your bills, it's best to take them into the post office. He also recommends running your credit report every a year.
Police have identified Vigil and Wyles as the ringleaders. They have both been charged with numerous counts including racketeering and violating Colorado's Organized Crime Control Act.
All of the suspects are scheduled to appear in court on July 14.
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