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      Tift County Sheriff's Office arrest 14 for identity theft

      36-year-old Tammy Westbrook of Ashburn has been charged with one count of identity theft. / Tift County Sheriff's Office

      Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough has announced that his office's Criminal Investigation Division has arrested fourteen people over the past two months after extensive investigations into the crime of identity theft and other types of fraud.

      Sheriff Scarbrough said that agents from the United States Secret Service assisted in some of the investigations and some of the arrests.

      Scarbrough said at this time nine of the suspects have been released on bond while five remain in the Tift County Jail.

      Lt. Colonel Bobby Brannen said that from 2011 to 2012, reports of fraud that were reported to the sheriff's office rose from 234 to 337, an increase of 44 percent. He added there have been 29 reports of various types of fraud reported between April 1 and May 10. He said the majority of these are identity theft related.

      Brannen added that citizens should not give out their personal identifying information except in cases when they know they are dealing with reliable and reputable businesses or individuals that they know are legitimate.

      Below are those charged in the investigations:

      36-year-old Tammy Westbrook of Ashburn has been charged with one count of identity theft.

      37-year-old Angelette Byrd of Ashburn has been charged with seven counts of identity theft, abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled or elderly person, probation violation, three original counts of defrauding the state, and seven counts of financial transaction card fraud.

      38-year-old Gregory Montae Byrd of Sylvester has been charged with five counts of identity theft.

      19-year-old Chelsey Briaunna Martin of Ashburn has been charged with one count of identity theft.

      45-year-old Geraldine Height aka Geraldine Mayo of Tifton has been charged with 16 counts of identity theft and one count of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled or elderly person.

      27-year-old Shantrell Denise Brown of Tifton has been charged with 87 counts of identity theft, probation violation from an original charge of aggravated assault.

      26-year-old Brittany Gladys Gray of Tifton has been charged with 84 counts of identity thefts and one count of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled or elderly person.

      26-year-old Richard Larry Blake of Tifton has been charged with 69 counts of identity theft, parole violation, and child support violation.

      30-year-old Kayla Maria Fowler of Tifton has been charged with 74 counts of identity theft and probation violation from an original charge of forgery in the first degree.

      48-year-old Valerie Bell of Tifton has been charged with identity theft and one count of abuse/neglect/exploitation of a disabled or elderly person.

      22-year-old Shannon Shydia Murray of Tifton has been charged with two counts of identity theft.

      26-year-old Cassandra Michelle Brownlee of Tifton has been charged with 199 counts of identity theft and probation violation from the original charge of giving a false name.

      41-year-old Jatin Suresh Patel of Tifton has been charged with 18 counts of identity theft and possession of Hydrocodon with intent to distribute.

      25-year-old Alejandra Lorenzo-Vega of Tifton has been charged with four counts of identity theft, possession of Hydrocodon with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

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