Two plead guilty in ID theft scam

Two plead guilty in ID theft scam

URBANA — Two of four people charged in an identity theft scam involving Busey Bank customers last year have pleaded guilty.

Assistant State's Attorney Joel Fletcher said one of the pair, a former Busey Bank teller, has agreed to testify against two others involved.

Heather Alexander, 21, formerly of Champaign but now living in Cook County, pleaded guilty Monday to financial identity theft, a Class 3 felony. She was sentenced to 30 months of probation, ordered to pay $21,444.84 in restitution to Busey and another bank in Omaha that absorbed the losses, and agreed to testify against co-defendants Jalena Arnold, 20, and Deangelo Ashford, 21, both of Urbana,

Also pleading guilty to financial identity theft, a Class 2 felony, on Tuesday was Troy Perry, 21, whose last known address was in the 1800 block of South Cottage Grove in Urbana. He was sentenced to three years of probation, six months in the county jail and ordered to pay the restitution along with the others.

Fletcher said Alexander and Arnold were employed as tellers at Busey Bank in Urbana and between June and September 2011, obtained personal information from Busey customers, which they funneled to Perry and Ashford, who then used the information to electronically siphon money out of the accounts of at least six people, and eventually into their own accounts.

The scheme came to light in July 2011 when an Urbana man found $8,000 missing from his account. Police began investigating and the four were charged in late October.

Busey Bank made several changes that made it more difficult for their own employees to have access to such personal information during the course of the investigation, police said.

Fletcher said neither Alexander nor Perry had any prior criminal convictions.

Arnold's case is set for a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence Aug. 9. Ashford's case is set for Sept. 13.

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