Ex-Employee of Check-Cashing Firm Charged with Identity Theft

Jan. 25, 2006
Former employee allegedly stole more than 1,500 pieces of information from customers

BEDFORD -- A former employee of a check-cashing company has been charged with theft of more than 1,500 pieces of information from customers, police said Tuesday.

Police arrested Barbara Manuel, 33, of Bedford on Thursday while she was meeting with an undercover Bedford officer in Grapevine.

Manuel has been charged with one count of identity theft, Bedford police Lt. Kirk Roberts said. More charges are expected, he said.

"It's going to take weeks, maybe months, to sort everything out," Roberts said.

Manuel had worked at ACE Cash Express in the 3300 block of Harwood Road.

Acting on a tip, an undercover police officer contacted Manuel about buying the information she is accused of taking from customers, Roberts said.

"The information included Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, dates of births and credit card numbers," Roberts said.

Manuel gave the officer a time and location for a meeting, Roberts said. They met Thursday, according to police reports.

"Once the officer saw the information, officers arrested her on the spot," Roberts said.

In a statement, Manuel said she had just been gathering the information for three to four months and had not sold any of it, Roberts said.

"We are not absolutely sure," Roberts said.

An ACE Cash Express spokesman said Tuesday that the incident was isolated.

"We are conducting an internal review, and if we can improve our procedures, we will," said Vice President Eric Norrington.

Company officials and police said that they would be mailing letters in the next few days to customers who could be victims.

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