DELTONA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida high schooler and his mother were arrested in an identity theft scheme that affected people across the nation, according to authorities. The Volusia Sheriff’s Office said a 14-year-old boy and his mother stole personal and financial information belonging to 17 people.
Deputies said the Deltona High School student was initially investigated in May after threatening to kill a fellow student who didn’t pay money for the 14-year-old’s pyramid fraud scheme. Further investigation found that the teen was buying people’s stolen personal and financial information online, including their social security numbers, credit card numbers, and logins for various banks and websites, the sheriff’s office said.
According to deputies, the underage suspect also had instructions on how to make forged money orders. The sheriff’s office found 17 total victims of identity theft and grand theft from different parts of the country. Fifteen of the victims decided to press charges.
In addition, deputies said messages between the teen and his mother, 38-year-old Selena Wallace, showed her telling her son that while she wished he would use his abilities to make money legally, he needed to raise his prices for higher profits. A search of their home found 12 laptops, four printers, four cell phones, several gaming systems, and other technology, according to the sheriff’s office.
The teen was charged with 15 counts of identity theft, obtaining property by fraud, illegal use of credit cards, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. His mother was also arrested on principal charges for each count and a charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Other charges are pending further investigation, deputies said.