4 From Fla. Charged In Identity-theft Plot

Victims Could Number 100, Howard Police Say

August 20, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

Howard County police have charged four people from Florida in a widespread scheme that authorities said involved stealing credit-card information, financial records and personal information from as many as 100 victims in four states.

On Aug. 10, police were called to the Best Western hotel in the 6700 block of Dorsey Road in Elkridge after a housekeeper found suspicious documents in a room's trash can. When police tried to stop one of the room's occupants as she drove near the hotel, she sped away and later collided with three Howard County police cars. Marie Arendas, 24, also tried to strike an officer with her car, police said.

Arendas, of Lauderhill, Fla., was arrested later that day and charged with first- and second-degree assault of a police officer, reckless driving, five counts of credit-card theft and one charge of general theft. She was being held in lieu of $175,000 bail at the Howard County Detention Center. There is also a warrant for her arrest in Broward County, Fla., for robbery that will serve as a detainer, police said.

Two passengers in Arendas' vehicle - Lamisha Loffett, 33, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Jamie Frazier, 32, of Plantation, Fla. - each face five charges of credit-card theft and one charge of general theft. Wayne Curry, 35, also of Lauderhill, was arrested at the hotel and faces the same charges. Curry is being held at the detention center in lieu of $75,000 bail. Loffett and Frazier were briefly held at the detention center before posting bond and being released.

Police are also investigating their connection to at least six thefts from vehicles in Columbia, Elkridge and Ellicott City since July. Police found hundreds of personal and financial documents, including driver's licenses, credit cards, checks, Social Security cards and bank statements, as well as $12,000 in cash and wigs. Howard County police are working with other local and federal investigators to identify potential victims.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.