Christine Agostinelli, a 48 year old woman from Delray, Florida, is being charged with allegedly stealing the identity of an Illinois woman. Agostinelli was apprehended with a stolen rental vehicle.
The woman faces felony charges on counts of forgery, identity theft, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and a misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office. Bond was set at 75,000 dollars.
On June 18, 2018, just before 8pm, police officers stopped a rental vehicle that appeared to have a fraudulent license plate. The woman driving the car is said to have identified herself as Teri Hess. However, when police investigated the matter it was revealed that the car was stolen from an Alamo Car Rental in Broward County, Florida.
While conducting a search of the vehicle officers found multiple identification documents belonging to Teri Hess, eight wigs and two checks from different people made out to Teri Hess,” the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office report reads.
Further investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle was in actuality Agostinelli, and that the real Teri Hess had been a victim of burglary a few weeks prior. Her car had been burglarized in Bloomington, Illinois and her wallet and ID’s were stolen in the incident.
Identity theft has dramatically increased in occurrences over the recent decades as more and more information is transmitted and processed online. In 2017, there were a record high 16.7 million victims of known identity theft in the United States.
Identity theft is regarded as a serious crime in which a person’s personal information is unknowingly stolen. The thief can use the stolen information to commit a wide variety of fraud which can harm the real person’s credit and take a serious financial toll. Additionally, it takes an immense amount of effort and time to restore the victim’s reputation.
According to Randolph Law Firm, P.C, which specializes in taxes, “An identity thief can also illegitimately file taxes on your behalf and secure your refund. Here again, you may not discover this infraction until you attempt to file your taxes.” Victims of identity theft should report the fraudulent activity to the police.
Agostinelli’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 16, 2018,for arraignment. Additionally, Judge Bakalis prosecutors said.