Woman Suspected of 750 Identity Thefts

A 32-year-old woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of credit card fraud, accused of using identities of 750 people to purchase more than $400,000 in goods from Wal-Mart stores, the Placer County Sheriff's Department reported.

Stefani Ruland made the purchases over the past year, creating accounts at kiosks in stores from Sacramento to Redding, said sheriff's Lt. George Malim.

"She would get personal information about people from the Internet and then use that information to create accounts," Malim said, spending most of the money on electronics equipment and gift cards.

An anonymous tip to a Wal-Mart store touched off the investigation that led to Ruland's arrest, he said.

"We're looking at five other suspects," Malim said. "We expect further arrests."

The lieutenant said Ruland was first contacted by detectives Sept. 5 and that she showed them many items illegally purchased from the Wal-Mart stores.

"She's been very cooperative," Malim said.

Victims of the fraud have been located throughout the country, including on the East Coast, he said. Detectives and Wal-Mart security are working together to contact each victim as identified, he said.

Ruland was booked at the Placer County jail and bail was set at $10,000.

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