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Woman Pleads Guilty to Identity Fraud

On May 3, Fairfax County police arrested Pamela H. James and charged her with stealing her employer's credit card and driving her car without her permission. And last week in Circuit Court, she pleaded guilty to identity fraud and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

The victim was a wheelchair-bound Centreville woman in the Willoughby's Ridge community, and James was hired to be her caretaker. In exchange, James received free room and board in the victim's home.

Det. James Reid explained the details of the case in a May 5 affidavit for a warrant to search James' room there. He wrote that, on April 15, MBNA notified the victim of unusual activity on her credit card. This card was a re-issue she'd requested; but she told MBNA she'd never received the card and, therefore, had not charged anything.

MBNA then cancelled the card, but it also advised the victim that, on April 13, the card was activated using the phone at her address. "The personal identification number (PIN) was changed when the card was activated," wrote Reid. "There were numerous automatic teller machine (ATM) transactions on April 13, 14 and 15, 2006."

Reid arrested James in May and, in the warrant, he noted that she has four prior felony convictions, including credit-card theft and a drug offense. Then last Monday, July 24, in Circuit Court, James entered her guilty pleas before Judge Robert Wooldridge.

Before accepting them, however, he made sure that she was pleading guilty freely and voluntarily and because she was, indeed, guilty. He then set her sentencing for Sept. 8.

<tgl> — Bonnie Hobbs