By Rikki King Herald Writer
EVERETT — The list of victims filled nearly three pages.
Hundreds of stolen checks, driver’s licenses and tax documents were found in a south Everett home in February. The woman who lived there has a long history of identity-theft crimes in Snohomish County.
Melissa B. Martin, 32, of Everett, was booked Saturday into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of 64 counts of second-degree identity theft, in addition to financial fraud and forgery.
Bail was set at $50,000.
Martin allegedly “washed” the stolen checks to “sell to other criminal people to spread around town,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Christo Sedgewick said in court Monday.
Martin, who wore her hair in braided pigtails dyed bright pink, kept quiet during the brief hearing.
Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives started focusing on Martin after someone tried to cash a bad check at an Arlington-area casino in February, according to an affidavit filed in Everett District Court.
At the time, they served search warrants on a home along Florida Drive in south Everett where she’d been living. They also searched a storage unit she rented along East Casino Road.
“That’s when they came across literally hundreds of fake IDs, and things to do with check forgery, and driver’s licenses, pieces of mail, things like that,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Monday.
Detectives who served the warrants also reportedly found notebooks full of people’s names, Social Security numbers and other financial information, court papers show. Martin’s computer history detailed searches for personal and financial information of the victims.
In the months since, detectives interviewed and collected statements from more than 70 victims, Ireton said. In all, police believe the recovered stolen items belong to more than 200 people. Some of the items were connected to car prowls and storage burglaries from around the region.
As of May 2011, Martin had three felony convictions and four misdemeanors, court papers show. Most of her run-ins with the law have involved identity theft, forgery or possessing stolen property such as credit cards.
Multiple co-suspects are being investigated in the most recent sheriff’s office case.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to do if you are a victim
If you believe you were a victim of identity theft or mail theft:
•Call police immediately.
Contact fraud units at your banks and credit unions.
Call the federal identity theft hotline at 877-IDTHEFT. Find guides and resources for victims at www.ftc.gov.
Keep a log of everyone you talk to about your case, with their name, title and phone number, in case you need them in the future.
Review your credit report.
Change passwords and PINs on your accounts.