SAN FRANCISCO - There is a big development in an identity theft case that 7 On Your Side helped to resolve. It began when a Bay Area mom found out someone was using a fake ID to steal all the money from her bank accounts.
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This case got such response because this mom was watching on her smartphone app as the thief withdrew more and more of her money. She couldn't stop it. Now police have arrested a woman they believe was that thief.
It was a feeling of sheer helplessness for Mimi Murphy of San Francisco.
"A thief taking your money right in front of your eyes and there's nothing you can do," said Mimi.
It began when Mimi's debit card didn't work so she checked the bank app on her phone. Someone in Fresno had just withdrawn $3,500 from her savings account. The one set up for her little girl,
Peyton. Immediately she called Bank of America
"I was on hold for 43 minutes I believe," said Mimi.
All the while, she watched on her phone as the thief wiped out her savings and checking accounts.
"There goes another $500, there goes another $32 there goes another $100," said Mimi.
Finally the bank picked up her call.
"'Hi, how can I help you?' I said 'please just freeze my account before we do anything,'" said Mimi.
Bank of America refunded all the money swiped from her savings, but not her checking account. Saying this surveillance photo could have been Mimi and only she could know her pin.
"Thankfully to your team it got resolved," said Mimi.
7 On Your Side pointed out the thief had used a fake id to get a copy of Mimi's debit card and change the pin number. B of A agreed, and refunded that money after all.
And now, a big break in the case.
"He called me up and said yup we found a driver's license that had your name and address," said Mimi.
Vacaville police acting on a tip found 27 fake ID's in a local apartment. And, yes, they included this phony driver's license with Mimi's full name and address next to a photo of the suspected thief.
"My jaw just dropped when I saw it, cause I couldn't believe I said this is the woman with my name on it was so violating," said Mimi.
They also found several fraudulent credit cards including this one in Mimi's name. Police arrested the suspect, identified as Kristina Wilson, who had been living in the apartment. She pleaded not guilty to four counts of identity theft and forgery.
"Relieved. I feel so relieved and I feel like hopefully this saved a lot of other people as well," said Mimi.
Police say the phony ID's were criminally manufactured - not altered driver's licenses. As for the suspect, Kristina Wilson was released on $35,000 bail, and authorities said she failed to appear for a court hearing. A bench warrant is out for her arrest.