Alicia Newby of Chicago has been charged with a felony for continuing a financial crime enterprise. Newby is accused of stealing the identities of several people, including “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, collecting thousands of dollars in merchandise and mailing them to dummy addresses.
Prosecutors did not name any of Newby’s alleged victims, but police and court records listed Henson as one of them. Prosecutors say Newby’s scheme totaled more than $12,000 in fraudulent transactions, although more than $4,000 was canceled after Henson’s manager discovered the fraudulent activity last August.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Costello told the court, “Once [the hack] was done, the defendant then raided the account for a variety of information,” including phone numbers, addresses, financial accounts and telephone numbers that she then used to purchase items online.
Newby was also found to have defrauded JP Morgan Chase, American Express, PayPal and multiple other merchants in her scheme, according to charging documents. She was arrested Saturday during a search warrant, following a nearly year-long investigation.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Newby had utilities in her name mailed to two addresses, one of which she obtained a lease for allegedly using a second victim’s identity. She also allegedly assaulted a US postal worker for refusing to deliver fraudulent packages, but she was later given the merchandise after causing a scene in the local post office.
Police lost track of Newby in December after she vacated an apartment, leaving behind thousands of dollars in damages and about $4,000 in unpaid rent. However, she resurfaced this year after pawning a designer purse using her real state identification card.
Newby’s attorney asked for a reasonable bond, noting that her crime wasn’t violent. She is also the mother of six children, currently two months pregnant, and living with bipolar disorder.