2 state employees indicted in ID theft
Officials were mum on exactly how the alleged scam worked but said that 27 people had been informed that their identities were stolen.
LaTonya Young, 31, of the 7300 block of South Champlain Avenue, was arraigned Monday on charges of official misconduct and possession of a fictitious driver’s license. She had worked as a cashier in the secretary of state’s Randolph Street office.
Angela Burgess, 37, of the 900 block of North Springfield Avenue, is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday. She was an assistant manager at the same office. Both have been suspended without pay, according to Cook County State’s Atty. Richard Devine.
Young and Burgess allegedly helped a brother and sister team steal personal information about the 27 people and make credit charges in their names from May 2003 to August 2004.
James Thigpen, 33, Scannable Fake ID of the 600 block of South Wells Street, was arrested last August. He is being held in federal prison in Duluth, Minn., for violating terms of his parole on a 2001 federal conviction. He has been charged with forgery, possession of fraudulent and fictitious licenses and Social Security cards, and a number of related charges. A federal investigation into identity theft in connection with this case is pending, Devine said.
Thigpen’s sister, Teebra Thigpen, 30, fake id florida of Rochester, Minn., was arraigned last November and scheduled to appear in court next week. She is charged with forgery, bribery, possession of an altered identification and making false application for a license.
Devine would not identify how much money had been charged to the fraudulent credit cards or what exact role the two state employees played in the scheme.
James Burns, the secretary of state’s inspector general, credited the facial recognition system a computer program used to identify multiple photos and names in the state records database with highlighting the bogus licenses. Employees from the secretary of state’s office scan the system for duplicate photos on a “fairly regular basis,” Burns said.
State police began to investigate this case after multiple photos of Thigpen were found.
Each of the licenses contained James Thigpen’s picture, alongside the victims’ information.
Secretary of State Jesse White said he has sought to restore integrity in his office and run it like a business. “When you have 3, fake ids 600 employees . unfortunately some will be motivated by greed.” He expressed the hope this case would “send a message that we mean business, and zero tolerance is the name of the game.”