According to CBS Denver, Vanessa Ravare and Cynthia Johnson are both being charged with a litany of crimes including identity theft and criminal impersonation. The women are also facing charges for violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, as their actions qualify as a racketeering conspiracy under Denver law.
Ravare, also known as Sandra Seawell, was arrested in Eagle County. Johnson, also known as Jacquelyn Murray, was arrested in Summit County. Both face up to 48 years for federal organized crime violations if convicted.
Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum said that these arrests are a step in the right direction for a state that has fallen victim to numerous instances of fraud in the past several years.
“Fraud effects are widespread, undermining our trust in banks and raising costs for everybody,” McCollum said in a statement. “Diligent coordination among law enforcement agencies in this complex, multi-county investigation, with skill and persistence, has led to these two arrests. We continue to seek other suspects who are at large.”
The average American home has a whopping 13 payment cards, which has made identity theft easier and more common than ever. In the case of Ravare and Johnson, they decided to forgo thievery and simply create false credit cards in an attempt to fool the banks.
According to Summit Daily, Johnson was arrested on Oct. 14 in Frisco after allegedly attempting to take out a $5,000 cash advance from Alpine Bank. The credit card she was using was issued to a false name, but Johnson’s scam didn’t stop there.
When the teller notified her that the advance wouldn’t go through, Johnson said that the credit card company must have forgot about her “travel plans” and instructed her to call the customer service phone number on the back of the card.
The phone number, much like the credit card itself, was a fake. Johnson arranged for an unidentified accomplice to answer the teller’s call and fraudulently approve the cash advance.
Ravare, who was arrested on Oct. 21 in Frisco, was running a scheme identical to Johnson’s. Alpine Bank says it has lost a total of $37,550 from the combined scams.
Ravare appeared in front of Summit County Court yesterday. Johnson’s case was moved to Eagle County Court and is scheduled to begin today.