RACINE, KENOSHA COUNTIES — A 27-year-old Union Grove man, who currently is in custody in Kenosha County on a credit card fraud charge, now faces three additional criminal counts for a similar offense — this time with the use of a deceased’s man’s credit card.
Benjamin Richard Whitney is charged with felony counts of identity theft and theft of mail from an adult at risk, which each carries a maximum prison term of six years and a $10,000 fine. Whitney also is charged with misdemeanor fraudulent use of a credit card.
The criminal complaint: Credit card, identity theft
An investigator with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department took a complaint from a man in December, who stated a credit card in the name of his deceased father was being used. The previous month, the man’s mother stated she received a credit card statement that listed an outstanding balance of about $4,000.
The credit card was used on Nov. 1, and then 25 more times between Nov. 1 and Nov. 12 at a number of area stores and gas stations, the complaint states.
Police also learned that someone had called the issuing bank to try and obtain a duplicate credit card. The bank employee provided the phone number of the person who called, and it was registered to Whitney.
The credit card statement showed most of the purchases for less than $100; however, two were made at Best Buy, one for $971.99 and another for $1,620.17. Two additional cash payments for a total of $450 also were made.
One of the purchases was made at the Rocket Wash in Kenosha, and police observed video footage that showed a white male with forearm tattoos. A booking photo in Kenosha County for Whitney showed matching tattoos.
Photographs from Walmart also showed Whitney making purchases on Nov. 1.
Police executed a search warrant at Whitney’s home in Union Grove, where they found a wallet with various debit and credit cards, including the one from the deceased victim. Police also found clothing with the tags still on them, along with a bag of mail that contained several pieces of mail for various individuals.
Inside Whitney’s Jeep, a baggy with suspected heroin was found, along with a small notebook that contained names, Social Security numbers and telephone numbers in handwriting that matched the defendant’s. The victim’s information was among those included in the notebook, the complaint states.
Whitney, who is free from the current case on a $10,000 signature bond, is due back in Racine County Circuit Court on March 1, for an 8:30 a.m. preliminary hearing.
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