13 people charged in identity theft ring based in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Thirteen suspects are facing a total of 50 federal charges after a federal investigation into an identity theft ring in the Wichita area.

Federal prosecutors say the suspects took mail from boxes and mail rooms across the Wichita region. Some of the suspects stole the mail, while others altered checks, created fake checks or applied for credit cards. Others created fake Kansas driver’s licenses and some bought goods with stolen identities, including weapons and drugs. Among the items purchased were a $43,500 Jaguar automobile and a $62,000 Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

Spokesman Jim Cross said Friday this is one of the largest identity theft cases the U.S. attorney in Kansas has ever prosecuted.

The fraud brought in an estimated $3.5 million of stolen money and goods.

The following defendants are named in the indictment:

Samuel Below, 29, Phoenix, Ariz.
Chad Michael Abildgaard, 25, Goddard, Kan.
Krysalias Lynn Bernhardt, 20, Clearwater, Kan.
Jacob Michael Martin, 31, Wichita, Kan.
Melanie Marie Morey, 41, Wichita, Kan.
Jillian N. Parker, 34, Wichita, Kan.
Jeremy Peterson, 42, Wichita, Kan.
David Allen Babedew, 24, Wichita, Kan.
Dustin Michael Reida, 28, Wichita, Kan.
Thomas Rye, 36, Phoenix, Ariz.
Daniel Christian Thomas, 31, Wichita, Kan.
Justin Alan Vanley, Rose Hill, Kan.
Jacey Jane Vidricksen, 27, Goddard, Kan.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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