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Three charged with stealing Champlain Towers identities

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Three charged with stealing Champlain Towers identities
The partial collapse of a 12-storey residential building in Miami left 121 people unaccounted for. (Reuters)

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United States police have arrested three people accused of stealing the identities of victims in the building collapse that killed 98 people in Florida in June.

The suspects face charges of multiple counts of identity theft, organised scheme to defraud and trafficking in credit cards.

They are said to have made purchases worth tens of thousands of dollars on illegally obtained credit cards.

The 12-storey Champlain Towers South near Miami collapsed on 24 June.

One remaining section of the apartment block in Surfside was demolished in early July over safety fears.

The cause of the collapse is still being investigated.

The three suspects have been named as Betsy Alexandra Cacho Medina, 30, Rodney Choute, 38, and Kimberly Michelle Johnson, 34.

“The loss of 98 lives was and is still is painfully tragic. But for a group of alleged identity thieves, it was a time to make some money,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Using the credit cards of five of the victims and two survivors, the suspects are believed to have bought luxury handbags, shoes and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars, as well as making bank transfers.

Police were alerted in early July by the sister of one of the victims when she realised that someone was tampering with her late sibling’s bank details.

If convicted, the suspects face between 15 and 30 years in prison. (BBC)


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