A Chicago mother is accused of stealing the identities of multiple people including an actress known for her role on “Empire.”
Alicia Newby reportedly trembled and cried in court on Sunday as prosecutors accused her of hacking into “Empire” star Taraji Henson’s email account last year and stealing her identity, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Newby, a 29-year-old mother of six, who is now pregnant with her seventh child, has been charged with continuing a financial crime enterprise for allegedly spending $12,000 of Henson’s money. At some point, Henson’s manager noticed alleged fraudulent activity on the star’s cards and was able to cancel about $4,000 of it.
Prosecutor James Costello told the court that after Newby broke into the actress’ email “the defendant then raided the account for a variety of information," including phone numbers, addresses, financial accounts and telephone numbers that she could then use to purchase items online.”
Several of the items allegedly ordered online were then mailed to two addresses in Chicago. One of the addresses, according to Costello, was an apartment leased by using another victim’s stolen identity, according to the Chicago Sun Times. As a result of Henson reporting possible identity theft, a postal worker refused to deliver packages to one of these addresses. In December, Newby allegedly abandoned one of the apartments without paying rent.
Ultimately, she was caught after trying to alleged pawn a stolen designer purse. Investigators were able to link her to numerous crimes using email accounts, social media and other evidence.
Newby was arrested Saturday and officially linked to the months worth of alleged identity theft crimes.
The mother has been released on a $10,000 signature bail. Her attorney noted in court that Newby isn’t accused of anything violent, and added that she struggles with bipolar disorder and is two months pregnant.
Investigators are looking to see if other “Empire” cast members were also victimized, an unnamed police source told the Chicago Tribune. The show has been in the spotlight as of late, after actor Jussie Smollett’s embroilment with the Chicago police.
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