Cyber-wellness Means Cyber-awareRead more Addressing maternal mental healthcare in AfricaRead more Qatar v. Ecuador to kick off FIFA World Cup 2022™ on 20 NovemberRead more Webb Fontaine Announces Launch of Niger National Single Window (NNSW) to Bolster TradeRead more Ethiopia: Loan from United Nations Fund Allows Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to Scale Up Fertilizers for Farmers in TigrayRead more How Choosing the Right Printer Helps Small Businesses and Content Creators to Save Time, Maximise Productivity and Achieve GrowthRead more The United States Contributes USD $223 Million to Help World Food Programme (WFP) Save Lives and Stave Off Severe Hunger in South SudanRead more Eritrea: World Breastfeeding WeekRead more Eritrean community festival in Scandinavian countriesRead more IOM: Uptick in Migrants Heading Home as World Rebounds from COVID-19Read more

Florida police arrest three accused of stealing condo victims’ identities

show caption
The 12-story beachfront Champlain Towers South partially collapsed in the middle of the night June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Sep 09, 2021 - 08:26 AM

MIAMI — Florida police on Wednesday arrested three people accused of stealing the identities of victims of the June condo collapse near Miami that killed 98 people.

The suspects are alleged to have assumed the identities of five people who died in the collapse, plus two survivors, in order to open new credit cards, Miami-Dade prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle said during a press conference.

The suspects used the cards to buy items such as shoes and luxury handbags and to make bank transfers.

They purchased at least $45,000 worth of goods in total.

The suspects were identified as Betsy Alejandra Cacho-Medina, her boyfriend Rodney Choute, and Kimberley Michelle Johnson.

“These individuals appear to be very skilled identity thieves. They’re professionals,” Fernandez Rundle said.

They face charges of conspiracy to defraud, identity theft and using false documents, among other offenses.

The investigation began July 9, when the sister of one of the victims of the collapse in Surfside, near Miami Beach, realized that someone was tampering with her late sister’s bank details, and she called the police.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who spent weeks making daily visits to the site of the search and rescue effort, condemned the alleged fraud.

“What a tragedy that anyone would seek to exploit this situation,” she said told the press conference.

The 12-story beachfront Champlain Towers South partially collapsed in the middle of the night June 24 in Surfside, north of Miami Beach.

A teenager was rescued from the rubble within hours, but first responders didn’t find any other survivors and the operation eventually turned to one of recovering remains.

The exact cause of the collapse is still unknown and under investigation.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.