East Texas Woman Arrested, Accused Of Identity Theft - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/26/06-Wood County

East Texas Woman Arrested, Accused Of Identity Theft

An East Texas woman becomes the victim of identity theft after signing up for a life insurance policy.  Today, the victim spoke about her scare. Also, law enforcement officers arrested the person they believe is responsible.

"I was actually stunned, nervous. I really didn't know what to do," says Wilma Burgess after finding out she was the victim of identity theft.

63 year old Wilma Burgess of Quitman bought a life insurance policy on May 3rd.

"She had called me several times about selling me an insurance.  Finally gave into her and said okay. She said we would fill out an application and maybe I would get approved," says Wilma.

She was approved several weeks later.  But then on Monday, two and a half months after applying for the policy, Wilma got a call from a credit card company.  

"There was a $4,200 balance and no one had paid it," says Wilma.

It was not her credit card, but had Wilma's information on it... so Wilma did a little research. The address for the credit card matched Paula Marie Turner the woman from Bankers Life, who had sold her a life insurance policy.

"I trusted her and the only reason she got in my house was because she worked for an insurance company," says Wilma.

Wilma reported it to the Wood County Sheriff's Department.  And today, 34 year old Paula Marie Turner of Quitman was arrested for Fraudulent Use Possession of Identifying Information.

"We were very lucky by getting on it real quick and the person living in this town," says Sheriff Dwaine Daugherty of  Wood County.

Wilma found out it was 7 days after she signed up for the insurance policy, Turner applied for the credit card.

Wilma is thankful Turner is not getting away with it.

"Thank goodness. I'm very thankful for that and didn't get away with it for very long," says Wilma.

Wilma says she hopes Turner is sorry for what she has done, and this may have prevented others from being victims.   Wilma told us, the credit company is not holding her liable.

The insurance company, Bankers Life did tell us, the suspect- Turner worked for them less than 5 months before she resigned in June. Officials also say they will be contacting anyone who they think may have been affected by this.

Wood County Sheriff's Department told us identity theft is a state jail felony. Punishable up to 2 years in jail with a fine up to $10,000.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com 

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