Young female duo accused of living off fraud
Marc Bence/for metro edmonton
Two women are accused of living a lavish lifestyle on the backs of potentially thousands of victims they stole from by taking their credit and debit cards, identification, mail and other personal information, police said.
Police accuse the two 26-year-olds of using the stolen information to open bank accounts to buy furniture and a large high-definition television along renting a number of vehicles and a newer-style house on 7 Ave. and 82 St.
"These two were basically living off of the fraud," said Det. Bob Gauthier with the Edmonton Police Service’s economic Crimes Unit.
Police kick-started the investigation after one of the women was pulled over during a routine traffic stop and she presented an officer with a fraudulent driver’s licence, say investigators.
The officer also discovered a number of stole credit cards and stolen IDs, police said.
The find resulted in a search warrant at the home last week where police seized computer equipment, a shredder and templates to print Alberta driver’s licences and vehicle registration documents.
"There is a huge potential loss here for each victim," said Gauthier. "Each credit card that we’ve recovered could mean a loss of $5,000 for the victim."
Gauthier says police will have a "time-consuming task" of trying to track down all of the victims in this affair.
Stacey Ann McGillis and Elena Jean Banfield face numerous charges including possession of stolen property, possession of stolen instruments and possession of a stolen credit card.