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Arraignment pushed for identity theft ring suspects

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By Deborah Swearingen

The joint arraignment for seven people arrested for allegedly operating an identity theft ring in Jefferson County and elsewhere in the metro area has been postponed.

Four men and four women are accused of operating the ring, which affected at least 26 merchants and 14 victims, according to the indictment. Of the eight, one suspect — Faith Knight — remains at large.

The following individuals have been arrested:

• Jacob Westfall, 20

• Matthew Lane, 42

• Michael John Mancuso, 28

• Texie Lane, 35

• Chelsea Dix, 24

• Kristina Babe, 40

• Dwone Ector, 22

All of the suspects were scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning. Now, Texie Lane, Dix, Westfall and Mancuso, are set for arraignment on Oct. 29, while Babe and Ector are scheduled to return to court on Nov. 13.

Matthew Lane pleaded guilty during the Monday arraignment to a Class 6 felony charge of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device. He was immediately sentenced to 18 months of probation.

In addition to operating the ring, Mancuso is accused of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act by participating in racketeering, or when organized groups run illegal businesses. According to a press release from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the eight suspects illegally obtained financial and personal information from people such as names, addresses, credit card numbers and more. Most of the information came from Chase Visa credit cards. Businesses in Evergreen and South Jeffco were among those hit by the identity theft ring.

The remaining seven suspects face charges of identity theft, theft, conspiracy to commit theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, false information to a pawnbroker, aggravated motor vehicle theft and attempted theft.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.