Hancock authorities clear woman's name after identity theft landed her in jail

Hancock authorities clear woman's name after identity theft landed her in jail

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - For one Saucier woman, being a victim of identity theft didn't rob her of her life savings, but it did land her in jail. Fortunately, she's now free, but not before having to spend five days behind bars.

Lynda Wolfe didn't know what was going on when authorities came to her home last Thursday and arrested her on charges of helping another woman steal $27,000 from an elderly man in Diamondhead.

"She looked confused and she told me yesterday she thought it was a joke," said Hancock County Sheriff's Office Investigator A.J. Gambino.

This has happened before, but it's the first time Gambino has had to work a case where a person went to jail as a result of his or her identity being stolen.

Gambino said the other woman arrested, Shara Leon, finally admitted she had used Wolfe's name in the scheme. Wolfe was released Tuesday morning.

"Went to the jail, she came up and I told her, I said, 'Well, we're getting you out,'" Gambino said. "And she began crying."

Authorities said that Leon used Wolfe's name to pay personal bills from the Diamondhead man's account. Leon was a neighbor and had helped Wolfe pay her bills online.

"Anyone can be a victim of this," Gambino said. "And that's why people need to be cautious of who they let access their accounts, access their information."

Gambino said that Wolfe's name was used in the theft of about $4,000 from a second elderly victim in Pearl River County. He said that he is working with Pearl River County officials to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again to Wolfe.

Wolfe did not want to speak on camera, but did say on Tuesday that she was "doing a lot better now."

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