LUMBERTON — Lawmen are searching for a Red Springs man accused of the felony crime of using documents to open fraudulent accounts linked to 11 people.
Robert Ashamd Johnson, 33, of 8 Robinwood Apartments, Red Springs, is charged with 11 counts of identity theft, two counts of trafficking stolen identities and conspiracy, and possession of more than five counterfeit instruments.
Hoke County sheriff’s deputies on March 10 stopped a stolen vehicle at 9882 Fayetteville Road with two men inside.
Documents with identifiable information were found and seized, according to a statement from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation revealed the documents were used to open accounts without the consent of as many as 11 people.
Warrants were issued for Johnson and Sherwood Lavon Ferguson, 25, of the 200 block of McAllister Circle in Red Springs.
Ferguson turned himself in on Monday and was charged with 11 counts of identity theft, two counts of trafficking stolen identities and conspiracy. He was jailed under a $75,000 bond.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing areas of crime. According to the state Attorney General’s Office, 286,000 North Carolinians are victims of identity theft each year. A typical victim spends on average $800 and 175 hours over 23 months to clean up his or her credit.
“Most of us are met with opportunities to share personal information several times in day — whether we’re shopping online, banking on our phones, or connecting with people on social media,” Attorney General Josh Stein said. “While technology makes our lives easier, more convenient, and helps to foster relationships with loved ones far away, it can also be dangerous.”
Stein urges the public to report incidents of fraud.
“I will do everything in my power to protect North Carolinians from the risk of identity theft,” Stein said. “If you or a loved one have been a victim of identity theft, please contact my office to file a complaint and get advice on what to do next.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division can help North Carolinians who have been the victim of a scam, fraud, or identity theft. Anyone who thinks they have been a victim should call 1-877-5-NOSCAMS or visit ncdoj.gov/complaints, according to Laura Brewer, N.C. Department of Justice communications director.
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