ST. GEORGE — A 24-year-old woman has been arrested after stealing her friend’s identity to obtain a fraudulent driver’s license, a $4,000 loan, credit cards and prepaid gift cards for herself in her friend’s name.
Jessica Ann McCamey illegally renewed her friend Ciara Johnson’s driver’s license at the Provo Department of Motor Vehicles on April 24, having her own picture taken and subsequently used on the license, according to Utah court documents.
“(The DMV) saw that I had just renewed my driver’s license and saw my new picture,” St. George resident Johnson said. “If they’d have paid attention to what they see on my previous license – I have brown eyes. She has bright blue eyes. I’m 130 pounds. She’s like 200 pounds. There’s a big difference. I’m very dominant in my features. She’s blonde. I’m Arabic. So, I don’t understand how she was able to get a license.”
Johnson said she became friends with McCamey, of Provo, when McCamey began dating her husband’s lifelong best friend about a year and a half ago. As that relationship grew, Johnson said the couple decided to move from Provo to St. George and would stay at the Johnson’s home while searching for a place of their own.
“We hung out all the time – I mean, she’s becoming like one of my best friends, you know, because I was her only friend here in St. George,” Johnson said. “So, I became really close with her.”
Just before a planned trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, for McCamey’s birthday in March, Johnson learned her driver’s license was missing so she went to the Washington County DMV to obtain a new driver’s license for the trip.
Around that same time, Johnson said McCamey asked for her help to dye her blonde hair a dark-brown color – similar to the color of Johnson’s hair – before they left for Las Vegas.
“I got to Vegas with her for her birthday, we go shopping, we do all this stuff,” Johnson said, adding, “When I get back from Vegas – it was maybe three weeks after Vegas – I get a call from Victoria’s Secret and they’re asking me to pay off my balance and I said, “’What are you talking about? I don’t have a balance, I always pay mine off right when I use it.’”
Johnson said she knew someone must have stolen her Victoria’s Secret credit card or used her personal information to make the purchases on her account. While Johnson was trying to resolve the issue, she remembered a letter she received from Home Depot about two weeks prior, informing her that her account had been approved.
“I had just thought it was junk mail like I get all the time,” Johnson said, “and then I called Home Depot right after I hung up the phone with Victoria’s Secret and find out I have a $5,000 credit card opened up with them that was maxed out.”
As Johnson dug deeper, she learned she had more than 15 recent inquiries on her credit, including a Wells Fargo auto loan, R.C. Wiley, Best Buy, a signature loan in California and a loan at Utah Community Credit Union in Provo, among others.
“I called the Utah Community Credit Union up in Provo and they said, ‘yeah, you came in and you took out a $4,000 loan on this day, and I said, ‘no, that wasn’t me. I live in St. George. I’ve never been into your place at all.’”
Johnson said she then went to the St. George Police Department to file a police report but felt they weren’t providing her with the help she needed or taking any action so, she said she called the Provo Police Department and a detective promptly jumped on the case.
Provo Police obtained surveillance footage from the credit union on the date the loan was processed.
“(The detective) thought I was filing a false police report because he looked at my ID and looked up the footage from the UCCU and it’s the same person,” Johnson said. “But then he went and looked on my Facebook and saw who I was and found her profile and saw who she was and so then he put everything together. He called me and sent me over the surveillance and he said, “You know her but I need you to verify that it was her on the surveillance.’”
Johnson said she was shocked to find out it was McCamey, noting that McCamey was with her when she was filling out the police report.
According to a probable cause statement filed by Provo Police Officer Nicholas Patterson in support of the arrest, McCamey obtained a $4,000 loan in Johnson’s name, using Johnson’s information and providing forged documents stating she owned a home – Johnson’s St. George home – that she was renting out for income.
McCamey had already applied for and obtained a Home Depot credit card under Johnson’s name while she was living in St. George, Patterson wrote in the sworn statement.
“While she was in Provo, Jessica (McCamey) went to the Home Depot and used the credit card to purchase a total of $2,000 in prepaid credit cards,” Patterson stated.
Police arrested McCamey on June 12 in Provo.
She was booked into the Utah County Jail on second-degree felony producing a false identifying document; seven third-degree felony counts of identity fraud, theft by deception and forgery; along with two class A misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a financial transaction card.
“A criminal history search revealed that Jessica has been arrested and convicted of the same crimes in the past several years,” according to the probable cause statement.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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