|October 11, 2005
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced the arrests of three Central Florida residents on charges of identity theft and racketeering. Michael Glass, Samuel Harris and Amber Suters were arrested by local law enforcement officers this morning for their involvement in an identity theft ring operating throughout Central Florida. Two other members are currently in custody for separate cases. A sixth member of the ring, William Wofford, is currently at large.
Investigators with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service uncovered the ring after noticing unusually high levels of identity theft in Osceola County and surrounding areas. Glass, Harris and Suters were half of a six-member ring that allegedly stole more than $70,000 from its victims. Ring members allegedly would break into individual mail boxes and mail boxes at apartment complexes and steal credit card checks and bank checks. They would then create identifications to match the checks, enabling them to cash the checks and use the money for personal gain.
"Identity theft robs individuals of their financial resources as well as their good name," said Crist. "When we sought tougher laws for identity thieves from the Legislature we pledged to aggressively pursue those who perpetrate this fraud. That pledge is again being honored today."
Glass is from St. Cloud, Harris is from Kissimmee and Suters is from Davenport. Wofford is from Haines City.
Co-defendants Christopher Miller and Tara Megna, both of Kissimmee, are already in custody on similar charges in separate cases. Megna is being held at the Polk County Jail, Glass and Harris are being held at the Osceola County Jail, and Miller and Suters are being held at the Orange County Jail. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Each defendant faces one charge of racketeering and one charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, as well as numerous charges of grand theft and criminal use of personal identification. If convicted on all charges, Glass faces a maximum of 110 years in prison, Miller faces a maximum of 105 years, Wofford faces a maximum of 80 years, Harris and Suters each faces a maximum of 75 years and Megna faces a maximum of 70 years.
A copy of the criminal information is available at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-6H3PBN/$file/ID_Theft_Ring_Information.pdf