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Plea deal for woman who assumed victim's identity

As identity theft becomes an increasingly common crime throughout the nation, a shocking case from Wichita highlights the ease with which an identity can be stolen and assumed. An illegal immigrant accused of hijacking an elementary school teacher's identity is abandoning her criminal defense to reach a plea deal in the court battle, which has gone on for more than a decade.

The story reads like something out of a high-tech novel. The immigrant reportedly wholly assumed the identity of her victim. She then accused the school teacher of identity theft, maintaining her innocence in the case until a recent plea change decision. The woman first discovered that her identity had been stolen after she was denied a mortgage more than 10 years ago, according to media reports.

Not only did the woman accused of the crime in this case use the identity theft for financial purposes, she also obtained a job using the falsified information. The woman is also accused of obtaining medical care for the births of two of her children under the false identity, as well as taking out a home loan and obtaining a drivers' license.

The case shows the increasing tendency of identity theft con artists to completely assume the personality and identity of their victims. In this case, the woman used her newly minted identity to obtain a number of services and financial benefits, even as her victim struggled to understand what was happening.

The suspect's guilty plea in the case will bring a long ordeal to an end for all parties involved in the case. Media reports have not indicated the potential punishment for the woman's identity theft activities, though she may face prison time and will almost certainly have to pay restitution to her victims. Terms of the plea deal may allow the woman to avoid a significant prison term, focusing instead on the financial aspects of the identity theft case.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Deal looms in 'total identity theft' case," Roxana Hegeman, Dec. 16, 2012

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