Identification Theft

A Leon County mother and father are behind bars and their two teenage daughters are in big trouble too. Detectives say all four are charged with fraud for running a family identity theft ring.

Detectives say they caught the girls when one of their teachers realized purchases she hadn't made were on her credit report and reported that to police.

Teachers at Nims Middle School say they chose their profession to share knowledge with students. Not their social security numbers and other personal information, but detectives say that's exactly what two teens used to order thousands of dollars worth of catalog merchandise.

Leslie Kitching, a detective with the Leon County Sheriff's Office, says, "I tracked it down and found out the address where the stuff had been ordered and when I gave her the address, she said, 'Uh-oh, that's one of my kids!'"

Thursday, sheriff's officers searched this home on Polk Drive and arrested the two girls, ages 14 and 15, and their parents, Tjuana Warren and Fredrick Andrews. Officers believe Andrews, who was recently released from jail for similar offenses, encouraged the girls to take the teachers' personal information from a book in the schools' main office.

Kitching says, "It had the names of regular teachers and their social security numbers and if you substituted for that teacher you signed in under that name on that book."

Pamela Hayman, Nims Middle School principal, adds, "The first thing we did was remove that book from the main office. That book is now in my office and we also talked to office staff to make sure no personal information is ever given out or thrown away, they're shredded."

Detectives say they know of 12 teachers that were victimized and dozens of other victims are still being identified.

Detectives say the girls were taken to the juvenile assessment center where they were released to an aunt. Their parents remain in the Leon County Jail. Bond for each is set at
$40,000.

If investigators can prove the parents had more than 20 victims, they could face up to five years in jail. Officers believe the girls will be put on probation.


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