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Local identity theft case involves friends, illness

Jan 19, 2011 7:44 am
One thinks of things like identity theft as big city urban crime stories, where the importance of those getting their identities stolen are key. Not so. The Daily Mail reports on January 19 of a 34-year-old Cairo woman who has been charged with stealing the identity of a sick friend and withdrawing more than $10,000 from the friend’s accounts.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office charged Tammy Lacitignola with allegedly using a friend’s checkbooks to write herself checks. She also is alleged to have used her friend’s personal information to open credit card and cell phone accounts. She has been charged with seven counts of second-degree forgery, seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, all class D felonies, and three counts of criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor.

Colin DeVries' story goes on to note how Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Adam Brainard said Lacitignola was asked to watch over a friend’s home while they were hospitalized for an illness. During that time, Brainard continued, Lacitignola had access to her friend’s checkbooks and confidential information, and allegedly used them to her advantage, investigators said.

A joint investigation with the Greenport Police Department and the Greene County District Attorney’s Office revealed that between September 2010 and December 2010, Lacitignola allegedly cashed numerous checks by forging her friend’s signature, and opened up four cell phone accounts and credit card accounts in her friend’s name. Lacitignola illegally signed the checks — which were made out to “Cash” — and cashed them at banks in both Columbia and Greene counties, said Brainard. The funds she is alleged to have taken exceed $10,000, the sheriff’s office said.

Lacitignola was arraigned in Catskill Village Court and remanded to the Greene County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. She is due to reappear in Catskill Village Court at a later date. The Greenport Police Department will also be filing similar felony charges against her in the coming days.