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House guest charged with massive identity theft

Staff Writer

A woman was charged with more than 50 felony counts after allegedly racking up thousands of dollars in credit-card debt by stealing personal information from a couple she was living with for nearly a year.
The Sheriff’s Office said Judith Ann Hamm Rishel, 57, of 1966 Mariposa Road in southeastern Lincoln County, moved in with the couple last April after convincing them she had nowhere to go.
Six months later, Rishel used the couple’s information to apply for a credit card, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release. After activating the card, deputies said she exchanged the couple’s address for a false one.
The victims learned of Rishel’s actions after the credit card company contacted them, deputies said.
The suspects also accused of charging at least $10,000 to a second credit card, making purchases at various locations across Mecklenburg and Union counties.
Rishel faces 51 felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in addition to six felony counts of identity theft and three-counts of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses.
Deputies visited the residence and seized a significant amount of items including computers, modems, printers and fake identification cards, the release said.
In addition to simulating social security cards and drivers’ licenses, deputies said Rishel had fraudulent ID badges including one from Queens University in Charlotte where she had previously worked.
Rishel is being held in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $185,000 bond.
Detectives Kelly Paris, Matt Lykins, Mark Stamey, Will Pitts and Lt. Tim Johnson, head of the Major Crimes Unit, have been investigating the case.

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