Secret Service agents and police investigating identity theft have uncovered more than 300 potential victims — nearly half of whom did business with a company in Bethany where a suspect worked.
Between February and December, members of the Oklahoma City Economic and Identity Crimes Task Force seized dozens of stolen identification cards, credit cards and checks, along with multiple computers, scanners, printers and related items used to create bogus checks and IDs, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Nine people were arrested in connection with the investigation, including Tracy Lavarnway, of Piedmont, who worked at American Quality Exteriors, a window and siding company in Bethany.
Lavarnway, 34, who was arrested on two separate occasions, told investigators in March she had access to the credit reports and personal information of customers, many of whom financed their purchases.
Lavarnway, who told investigators she worked there for five years, said she used personal information belonging to customers to “commit identity theft and credit card fraud,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators reported Lavarnway would obtain additional credit reports on customers to determine whether they had pre-
Lavarnway told agents that once she obtained a customer's credit information, she would tell other retailers she lost her credit card and use altered identification cards to gain temporary store credit.
“So far, the investigation has revealed over 300 potential victims with at least 140 of them being AQE customers,” Secret Service Special Agent J. Cody Bennett wrote in the affidavit.
A man representing American Quality Exteriors who identified himself only as Dan declined to answer questions about Lavarnway or her alleged crimes, except to say she no longer worked at the company.
Lavarnway was arrested a second time in August outside a Kohl's department store in Oklahoma City, where a woman identified as Diana Smith tried to make several purchases using a fake Oklahoma identification card and a compromised store charge account belonging to another person, agents
Smith got into a car with Lavarnway. Both were arrested and agents recovered credit card receipts from Kohl's and Dillard's along with credit bureau reports matching the names on both stolen accounts.
Authorities say they will file multiple charges, including aggravated identity theft, against Lavarnway and eight others.
Lavarnway told agents she is a methamphetamine addict who supported her habit through credit fraud and identity theft.
She told investigators when she was arrested in August that she was
Two other suspects who could be charged — David Carroll and Joseph Frazier — were arrested Feb. 28 by Oklahoma City police after using a Lowe's credit account that did not belong to either of them to purchase $8,076.87 in merchandise, according to the affidavit.
Authorities discovered Carroll and Frazier had several counterfeit state identification cards with their photos but the personal information of other people, agents reported.
The suspects used fraudulent information to rent a nearby hotel room where some of the stolen merchandise purchased from Lowe's was kept until it was picked up by another suspect, agents reported.
That man, Justin Brady, led authorities to Lavarnway, who rented a storage unit and met with Brady to exchange merchandise, agents reported.