A Florida man was arrested on Sunday after police say he stole the identity of numerous celebrities and public figures.
Michael Watters is charged with scamming the personal information of nearly two dozen public figures, including three NFL players, a pro tennis player and a boy-band pop icon.
Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Joe Philbin, all of the Miami Dolphins, had their identities allegedly stolen by Watters, the Miami Herald reported. Olympics tennis champion Jennifer Capriati and Backstreet Boys’ singer Howie Dorough were also alleged victims of Watters’ fraud.
The 48-year-old Florida man was arrested and charged with 22 counts of fraud using the identification of another person without consent, according to jail records.
Watters is accused of writing and cashing fake checks from the celebrities and other people.
Also on the list of his alleged victims are retired baseball players Johnny Damon, Jonathan Papelbon and Barry Larkin and the former head coach of the Orlando Magic, Scott Skiles, the Miami Herald wrote.
“This is another clear case of identity theft and it shows us no one is immune,” Danny Banks, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent, said to WFTV in Orlando.
Investigators say they started watching Watters more than three years ago when they first found him with several fake licenses and the names and information of multiple well-known people, WFTV reported.
Police say that he would use the checks to buy thousands of dollars worth of goods and then return them all for cash.
Backstreet Boys singer Dorough, 44, told WFTV that he became suspicious when he had debt collectors calling his home. Dorough has been a member of the Florida-based boy band since its launch in the early 90s.
Several more public figures also fell prey to Watters’ alleged fraud including an Orlando-area lawyer John Morgan and a local property appraiser, Marty Kiar, according to the Sun Sentinel in Orlando.
“I think he probably made a mistake,” Kiar said to the Sentinel. “I’m definitely not in a league with those folks.”
Officials have not disclosed how Watters allegedly obtained all of the personal information. He is being held in Seminole County Jail on $220,000 in bail.
[Photo: Seminole County Jail]
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