Meth Addiction Prompts Identity Theft
A methamphetamine addiction can do a number of things to your physical health, while it can also impact your ability to function in normal society. For Sharon Denise Steely, this addiction led to a string of identity thefts that terrorized a school district.
The Dallas News reported that 40-year-old Seeley was sentenced by State District Judge Mike Snipes to 34 years in prison for stealing the identities of literally thousands of current and former Irving school district teachers and other employees.
Working with others, Steely obtained names, Social Security numbers and other personal details of 3,200 teachers and other employees from a binder that was thrown in a school district trash bin. This information was then used to obtain credit cards, write fake checks and create fake IDs used to make thousands of dollars in purchases.
One teacher formerly with the school district stated that more than $25,000 in credit card charges were made in her name. Another teacher, Dawn Bizzell, told the court, “It’s affected my health, my family time, my energy and my trust of strangers. Those of us who are victims have been given a life sentence. We’re going to have to pay the price forever.”
The school district is now in the process of compensating the victims for their damages and is evaluating 103 cases in which people are asking for financial reimbursement. Claims include time spent repairing credit reports and stress-related health conditions.
The shopping spree was halted when Seeley was arrested at Irving Mall for attempting to make purchases at Sears with an ID bearing the name of elementary schoolteacher Shellie Pearce. When caught, she was found with information from 12 victims tied to the district.
After sentencing, Steeley apologized to the teachers and blamed her addiction to methamphetamines for her life of crime. She also made a point to mention that she did not work alone, but with a group.