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Lincoln County Woman Arrested on a Number of Charges Including Identity Theft

Submitted by on February 16, 2012 – 12:53 pm

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office News Release

February 16, 2012


Lincolnton, NC – A Lincoln County woman is facing a number of charges after she allegedly defrauded a family who befriended her.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detective Don Mauldin arrested Judith Ann Hamm Rishel, 57, of 1966 Mariposa Road, Stanley, NC on Wednesday on 51 felony counts of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, 6 felony counts of Identity Theft and 3 counts of Attempting to Obtain Property by False Pretenses.

 The suspect allegedly befriended the couple in April of 2011 and eventually told them she was going through a hard time and needed a place to stay.  The family agreed to let her move into their residence.  While staying at the home the suspect was able to get personal information and applied for a Discover credit card from an offer received by the family in the mail.  On September 23, 2011 she went on line and activated the credit card account and was given a PIN number.  She then changed the address to a non-existent address.  Charges on the credit card began with a withdrawal from an ATM machine and didn’t stop until the family received notification from Discover Card about suspicious activity.

 A second credit card was set up in September at CitiBank using the other family member’s name.  The investigation revealed that Ms. Richel made ATM withdrawals and purchases from businesses in Pineville, Weddington, Cornelius and Huntersville totaling more than $10,000.

 Armed with a search warrant, deputies seized electronic equipment including computers, modems and printers.   They also confiscated a number of ID’s, fraudulent Social Security Card, Driver’s licenses, and Community College identification badges. She was last employed at Queens University in Charlotte.  Assisting with the search warrant were Detective Lt. Tim Johnson, detectives Kelly Paris, Matt Lykins, Mark Stamey and Will Pitts.

 Rishel is being held in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $185,000 secured bond.

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