One Tulsa woman working to stop identity theft

Friday, May 3rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Identity thieves depend on you making everyday transactions, because, that's when you use your personal information. They take that information and open accounts in your name and rack up huge bills. As News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains, despite tougher laws, one woman can't get her case to court.

Michelle Cagle's identity was stolen last May. This May, the person she believes did it, is still not behind bars. "It is a joke. It's an absolute joke. You've got this person on videotape using my stuff, you've got the receipts where she got credit in my name, but, they still won't do anything, it's ridiculous."

Cagle took a picture from that videotape and plastered posters all over Tulsa, hoping someone would turn the woman in. Cagle now knows the woman's name, where she lives, where she works, what she drives and has given that information to detectives. Now, she's heard from another woman who believes the same suspect also stole her identity. "That's what's really frustrating. You hear there are other victims and if they would've just taken care of it last summer when they could've, there wouldn't be other people who are victimized."

Fraud detectives say there are several things holding this case back. First, they say the videotape isn't clear enough to make a positive ID. Second, since Cagle's banks reimbursed her, the fraud victims are actually the businesses where this woman wrote fake checks or used fake credit cards and they refuse to prosecute. And, they say the Tulsa County District Attorney's office said there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Detectives say the most recent case may fill in some of the gaps they need to stop this suspect. Separate from the fraud case, Oklahoma does now have an identity theft law that makes it a felony crime. "I asked them why they didn't get her for identity theft and they didn't give me an answer for that." Detectives say they too, want this woman off the streets, but, knowing who committed a crime and being able to prove it in court, are two different things.

Cagle believes the suspect is now working at a West Tulsa neighborhood business and worries the elderly patients will be targets next. All of this has spurred Cagle to quit teaching and go to law school, she says if she's ever in the position to, she'll work to toughen the identity theft law.