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3 arrests made in condominium collapse sufferer ID thefts: Officers

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MIAMI: Three folks have been arrested for stealing the identities of some victims in June’s lethal South Florida condominium constructing collapse, prosecutors introduced on Wednesday.
Betsy Alexandra Cacho Medina, 30, Rodney Choute, 38, and Kimberly Michelle Johnson, 34, have been arrested earlier on Wednesday on a number of prices associated to fraud and counterfeiting, the Miami-Dade state legal professional’s workplace introduced throughout a information convention.
Officers have recognized not less than 5 deceased and two residing victims from the constructing, however the investigation continues and extra victims could possibly be discovered, state legal professional Katherine Fernandez Rundle mentioned.
“These people seem like very expert id thieves, they’re professionals,” Fernandez Rundle mentioned. “Besides for his or her names, nearly nothing else about them appears to be true.”
The oceanfront Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed within the early hours of June 24, killing 98 folks. Authorities have been first notified of attainable fraudulent exercise on July 9, when the sister of one of many deceased victims contacted Surfside police, officers mentioned. The sister had observed password modifications to the sufferer’s financial institution accounts and bank cards, in addition to new addresses and speak to info.
Not one of the new addresses have been the residences of the id thieves, officers mentioned. The group was utilizing a collection of drop places, investigators mentioned, including that may be a widespread tactic utilized in fraud schemes. The group managed to steal about $45,000 via unlawful money transfers and by making costly purchases with fraudulently obtained credit score and debit playing cards. Investigators mentioned safety staff at banks and retailers managed to cease one other $67,000 in fraudulent exercise.
A number of businesses have been concerned within the fraud investigation, together with Miami-Dade police, Surfside Police, Aventura Police, the US Secret Service, the US Postal Inspection Service and the US Marshals Service.
Officers are nonetheless making an attempt to find out what prompted the 40-year-old constructing to break down years after preliminary warnings about severe structural flaws. Particles has been cleared from the location and brought to a warehouse close to the Miami worldwide airport for examination.
Jail data did not record attorneys for Cacho Medina, Choute or Johnson.


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