In Spokane County, Washington, fourteen people are being charged in an identity theft scheme headed by 30-year-old Kyle R. Aiken, The Spokesman-Review reports.
Aiken and his co-conspirators allegedly opened up bank accounts and created counterfeit checks with personal information they stole from victims' cars. Authorities believe Aiken led the crime ring and if convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail. Eight arrests were made by the Spokane County Sherriff's Office Financial Crimes Task Force, which was investigating the case for a few months. Arrests included Aiken, Donnelle Velasquez, Alexander Jarman, Tyler Berens, Sarah Perrenoud, Ronda Mason, Samuel Aldrich and Velasquez’s son. Aiken faces the heaviest charges, while the other suspects are charged with identity theft, forgery and possession of stolen property. The sheriff's department explained that more arrests will be made soon, NWCN.com reported. Although advances in auto technology, such as smart keys and the OnStar system, have lowered the rate of car theft, thieves that merely want personal information from a vehicle are less likely to be caught than if they were to steal the car.