June 28, 2019
A Houston woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for victimizing over three dozen people in a methodical identity-theft scheme, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.
Emily Ann Owens, 42, was sentenced by a judge after pleading guilty.
“Identity thieves, like burglars and armed robbers, devastate victims’ lives,” Ogg said. “This is deliberate, intentional fraud, and this defendant harmed a lot of people and is headed to prison.”
The investigation showed that Owens was stealing personal information from area storage units and also raiding the trashcans of local businesses for receipts and paperwork.
Using that information, she put together a notebook of identities that included timetables and to-do lists to systematically defraud unwitting victims.
After being arrested in October 2016, a judge freed her on bail and re-arrested in July 2018 on a new charge.
State District Judge Amy Martin sentenced her to prison Thursday for fraudulent use/possession of more than 10 and fewer than 50 pieces of identifying information, a second-degree felony and the first-degree felony of fraudulent use/possession of more than 50 pieces of identifying information.
Owens was facing the possibility of life in prison after pleading guilty to both felonies. She also had prior out of state convictions for fraud related offenses.
She was caught with victims’ Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and financial account numbers without their knowledge or consent said Assistant District Attorney Robert Buss, who prosecuted the case.
Buss said investigating and prosecuting identity theft takes a tremendous amount of time and resources because there is so much information that has to be processed, banks and businesses that have to be contacted and subpoenaed and victims that have to be interviewed to determine the scope of the theft.
There are over three dozen victims in this case.
“All that legwork is worth it when it leads to a conviction for a first-degree felony and prison time,” Buss said.
“She preyed on people, defrauded people, and took advantage of people,” Buss said. “And she was very dedicated to doing so.”