Manatee County man arrested for identity theft of 28 people

Manatee County

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Manatee County man was arrested and charged in several cases of identity theft of almost 30 people.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, 23-year-old Cristopher Crouch was booked on fraud charges in February, however, detectives have continued to work on an investigation of identity theft-related crimes, now totaling 104 fraud-related felonies.

Deputies say through their investigation, detectives learned that Crouch used the personal information of numerous victims to obtain bank accounts and create accounts at Dicks Sporting Goods, Lowes, Home Depot, Bealls, and Marshalls dating back to August 2019.

In each of the cases, Crouch created a fictitious driver’s license using the victims’ personal information and his photograph. He then went to the businesses to create the accounts and would purchase expensive items immediately after being approved for the accounts, according to deputies.

A release from the sheriff’s office says detectives found fraudulent credit card applications, account takeovers, an attempt to launder a stolen vehicle, and fraudulent bank accounts with victims’ identities following a search warrant.

Deputies say the investigation also uncovered that Crouch used a stolen identity to purchase cellphones and rent the apartment he was residing in — attempting to create an additional layer of anonymity between himself and the crimes.

He is now being charged in seven cases with a total of 28 victims. Below are a list of his charges:

  • 41 counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information
  • 18 counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information (60+ years old)
  • 7 counts of uttering a forged document
  • 3 counts of bank fraud
  • 1 count of fraudulent use of personal identification information >$5,000
  • 2 counts of grand theft
  • 3 counts of possession of counterfeit driver’s license
  • 1 count of fraudulent use of credit card > 2 in 6 months
  • 2 counts of scheme to defraud
  • 1 count of dealing in stolen property
  • 1 count of motor vehicle title fraud

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