COLUMBUS -- A 34-year-old Columbus woman is accused using identification stolen from a Texas woman to gain local motel jobs during a two-year period in 2011-12.
Defendant Dolores Ramirez is suspected of taking jobs at Columbus Super 8 Motel and New World Inn after using the stolen identity of a 37-year-old McAllen, Texas, woman while earning more than $11,000 from April 2011 through August 2012.
Ramirez, also known as Dolores Castillo-Tovar, has been charged in Platte County Court with two felony counts of identity theft and two misdemeanor counts of criminal impersonation.
Judge Frank Skorupa scheduled Ramirez for a status hearing on the charges on March 11 and continued the defendant's bond at 10 percent of $50,000.
The identity theft charges are Class III felonies, each punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine or both.
Court documents in the case describe an investigation that got under way in 2010 when Ramirez sought to renew an expired Nebraska driver's license she had received in six years earlier in the name of Sandra Elizama.
Facial recognition software used by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles matched the digital photos of Elizama and Ramirez, according to an affidavit filed by Marian Hohnstein, a deputy state sheriff for the DMV's Fraud Unit.
A search of motel employee personnel records revealed that Ramirez had identified herself as Elizama with a fraudulent Social Security number to get jobs at Super 8 and New World Inn, Hohnstein said.
Ramirez admitted meeting a street vendor in Nebraska in 1999 and buying documents under the name Elizama and using them to obtain Nebraska identification, Hohnstein said.
The fraud investigator interviewed the true Elizama in August 2012, with the Texas woman acknowledgingshe had had trouble with her personal information being compromised.
The victim reported that she'd had to get a special identification number from the IRS to be able to file her taxes because of wages being made with her name in other locations, Hohnstein said.
The victim said in a sworn statement that she'd not authorized anyone to use her name or personal information, the fraud investigator said.