ID thieves stole customer info, counterfeited personal checks

A Fairburn woman and a Jonesboro man have been charged on multiple counts of financial identity theft involving Fayette County victims.

Catraya Vogt, 29, of Fairburn, was charged with 15 counts of identity theft. Her accomplice, 28-year-old Douglas Allen, of Jonesboro, was also charged with 15 counts of identity theft, according to Sheriff Barry Babb.

Babb said between November 2012 and January 2014, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office investigated over 30 identity theft transactions with a similar modus operandi.

Babb said the transactions involved Fayette County victims routing and account numbers being stolen or copied from their checks then printed onto counterfeit checks bearing a fake identity.

“After the counterfeit checks were created, the perpetrators had access to the victim’s funds by using a fake ID matching the one printed on the check,” said Babb. “The counterfeit checks were then passed at large retailers throughout the southeastern United States. Fayette County checking account numbers were being passed in cities from Huntsville, Ala., to Greenville, S.C.”

Detectives wanted to identify where the account numbers were being stolen from, Babb said. They were able to locate the common point of compromise with the assistance of victims who responded to electronic surveys of their check writing activity and then submitted months of their personal bank records for examination, said Babb.

“The assistance of a national check processing company was critical in locating the individual stealing the numbers,” said Babb. “The point of compromise was narrowed to a local grocery store and further isolated to one individual after the perpetrator made admissions during interviews with officers.”

It is alleged Vogt collected the account numbers then sent them to Allen before the counterfeit checks were printed, Babb noted.

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