Los Angeles man W. Jackson was arrested recently and charged with identity theft, forgery and grand theft, after a prolific crime spree. Allegedly, Jackson had been contacting women on the internet looking for romance. He would meet up with the women, wine and dine them to gain their trust, and then steal their personal identifying information to either acquire their money or use their bank cards to pay his bills.
The victim who worked to bring him down is Acacia Ouidinot, of Arizona, and her tale is a cautionary one. It begins with meeting Jackson on Facebook. After going back and forth for a little while, Jackson offered to buy Ouidinot a plane ticket so she could meet him in Los Angeles and spend a weekend with him. Ouidinot’s troubles began when she found out the ticket Jackson said he paid for was invalid. According to the victim, Jackson told her that he was having trouble with his bank card and that, if she were to just pay for the ticket herself, he would reimburse her – so she did.
Upon meeting Jackson face-to-face, Ouidinot said he was charming and that they initially had a good time. They talked about family, what they were both hoping for in the future, and other things potential couples discuss to get to know one another better. Ouidinot flew back to Arizona Saturday thinking everything was fine. Unfortunately, when the banks opened on Monday, Ouidinot was shocked to find out that nearly $3,000 was missing. She would go on to lose about $7,000 total to Jackson, who had blocked her from his phone and social media sites so she was unable to contact him.
Not one to take things lying down, Ouidinot tracked Jackson down and, using his known aliases, was able to find over 20 victims from eight different states going back ten years. The victims have since been connecting with each other on Facebook and sharing their stories – all of which were eerily similar. Apparently, Jackson (under one of his many aliases) would meet women looking for love on Facebook and, after meeting them, find a way to get a hold of their identifying information to drain their bank accounts. He even stole one San Jose woman’s rental car, leaving her stranded.
Jackson is facing multiple felonies, as mentioned above, and could be facing more as additional investigations conclude.
As far as what Jackson is already facing goes, identity theft is covered under California Penal Code 530.5 PC and is described as taking another person’s identifying information and using it in a fraudulent or unlawful manner. Identity theft is a “wobbler” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. The misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony penalties include up to three years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Forgery is covered under California Penal Code 470 PC and is described as signing someone else’s name, faking a seal or someone else’s handwriting, changing or falsifying any legal document, or faking, altering, or presenting as genuine any legal document that pertains to money, finances, or property. Like identity theft, forgery is a “wobbler.” The misdemeanor and felony penalties are the same as well.
Grand theft is covered under California Penal Code 487 PC and is defined as taking someone else’s property that is worth $950 or more, without the owner’s permission. Grand theft is a “wobbler,” and the potential penalties are the same as the above two crimes.