Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 10, 2013

Group home worker accused of identity theft

KINGSLEY — A Kingsley woman faces identity theft allegations after she stole credit cards from coworkers and residents at an adult foster care facility, authorities said.

An 86th District Court warrant issued for Christine Margaret Cota, 41, lists five felony identity theft charges and one felony charge of using a computer to commit a crime.

Court documents state Kingsley Post Office officials became suspicious of a large volume of mail delivered to the Benton Adult Foster Care group home on Marsh Road. A Grand Traverse County sheriff’s detective talked to the group home’s owner who said an employee saw several credit cards in Cota’s purse from residents.

Benton AFC representatives didn’t return a call for comment.

A warrant search found a credit card inside the purse with the name of a group home resident who did not give Cota permission to obtain credit in their name, documents state. Interviews with other employees and group home residents found Cota used their names to obtain credit cards and a forensic search showed she used her computer to “engage in identity theft,” the documents state.

Cota admitted to “stealing employees’ and residents’ information in order to obtain credit,” according to the court documents.

The felony identity theft charges carry a maximum five-year penalty and the felony computer crime charge carried a maximum seven-year penalty.

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