More sentences handed down in large identity theft ring - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

More sentences handed down in large identity theft ring

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Thursday, another sentence was handed down to one of the nearly two dozen people accused of conspiring in a massive identity theft ring. Twenty-eight-year-old Kimberly Stewart of Tyler was sentenced to 10 years probation.

In court Thursday, Stewart was described as one of the lower-level participants in the theft ring. The ring is accused of stealing personal information from Tyler residents, then using it to open up bank accounts and take out fraudulent loans.

"This is your second chance," Judge Jack Skeen, Jr., sternly said to Kimberly Stewart.

In court, Stewart got a second chance to prove herself. She'll have to keep proving herself for the next 10 years while she's on probation. Stewart is one of more than 20 East Texans who have been accused of partaking in a massive identity theft ring. According to police, the group stole sensitive information like names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers. Then, they falsely applied for loans, deposited that money into different bank accounts, and spent the cash.

In court, Stewart took the stand to explain her involvement and apologize for what she had done.

"I have learned my lesson... that the people who got their identities stolen... it wasn't right. I want to pay back what I took," said Stewart.

Stewart told the court that she opened three accounts and took out multiple loans. She said she didn't know that the alleged "ring leaders" were having other people do the exact same thing.

One of those supposed "leaders," Russell Lowerie, was sentenced to 40 years in prison last week. Two other defendants, who prosecutors say had the same level of involvement as Stewart, also received 10 years probation.

In court, Stewart read a tearful apology to the three victims who had their identities stolen and credit damaged because of her actions.

"I would like to pay back the money to the victim and the family because that would be the right thing to do," said Stewart.

With no criminal record and the past 8 months being her first time in jail, Stewart promised it'd also be her last.

Attorneys say the ring leaders would recruit people to take out fraudulent loans, then let them keep a small portion of the money for their work.


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