Houston woman accused of ID theft in electricity scam
A Houston woman has been charged with identity theft, accused of using stolen identifying information to set up electricity accounts for herself and others, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Catherine Ceasar, 43, is free on $10,000 bail after being charged last week with fraudulent use of identifying information, according to court records. If convicted of the state jail felony, Ceasar could spend a maximum of two years behind bars.
Investigators looking into several unpaid Champion Energy accounts interviewed Ceasar, who admitted to having power in someone else's name, court documents show.
After comparing a recording of Ceasar's voice to calls recorded by Champion Energy, prosecutors said she had set up several accounts.
Ceasar could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Assistant Harris County District Attorney Ed McClees said the allegations against Ceasar are similar to an emerging trend of identity fraud.
"There are a lot of people setting up power in other people's names," McClees said. "We are investigating dozens of this type of identity theft."
McClees said the scam works one of two ways. In some cases, suspects set up real electricity accounts with stolen identities for others for a fee. In other cases, a "salesman" knocks on the door and offers to sell electricity on the cheap, payable in cash only.
After the account is set up with a fraudulent identity, the "salesman" returns every month to pick up payments.
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