Woman pleads guilty in $400,000 ID theft scheme

August 18, 2007

A 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to an identity theft scheme in which she opened credit accounts in the names of at least 15 people and purchased more than $400,000 of merchandise, federal prosecutors said.

Nekia Ishawn Hunter of Baltimore admitted to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and production of false identification documents, and she faces a maximum 47 years in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 26, according to the U.S. attorney's office. She is free pending her sentencing hearing.

Authorities said Hunter was arrested in Montgomery County in November 2003 after she tried to buy a car with false identity cards. Prosecutors said police searched her computers and found electronic images of counterfeit drivers' licenses from Maryland, Washington, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, in addition to fake birth certificates, checks and Social Security cards.

She pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to two years in state prison, according to Montgomery County court records.

Federal authorities said they began investigating Hunter again in the summer of 2006. Prosecutors said she purchased credit reports stolen from a Baltimore mortgage company containing names and Social Security numbers and used that information to obtain fraudulent drivers' licenses in their names.

She then obtained credit cards and used them to buy merchandise and obtain cash advances from stores and banks in the Baltimore and Washington area, prosecutors said.

According to the statement of facts read at yesterday's hearing, undercover federal drug enforcement agents watched as Hunter met with a known felon to exchange money for false identification papers at Select Auto in Baltimore and a KFC restaurant on Druid Hill Avenue.

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