ANCHORAGE – The Department of Justice on Friday unsealed a January indictment charging two Anchorage women with conspiracy, fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering for perpetrating a lengthy scheme to steal identities and defraud elderly victims and Habitat for Humanity.
According to court documents, Valerie Calip and Jennifer Haydu are accused of defrauding banks and individuals in Alaska, obtaining at least $150,000 through their illegal scheme. The pair stole mail, checkbooks, and identity documents from victims and used the information to create false identification documents. They signed up for credit cards and bank accounts under the victims’ names and intercepted their mail, using the fake ID to access their bank accounts. Calip and Haydu also used cash transfer apps to conceal the source of the stolen funds by transferring money to third-party accounts.
Calip and Haydu stole more than 200 identity documents and thousands of dollars from victims, including over $100,000 from an elderly victim with dementia and thousands from a Habitat for Humanity bank account.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the most serious indictment counts and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating this case and has received invaluable assistance from the Anchorage Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Tansey for the District of Alaska is prosecuting the case.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this scheme and entitled to restitution may contact the United States Attorney’s Office at 907-271-3661.
The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. The Hotline is staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers. Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed. When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller. The Hotline’s toll-free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.