Sunday, July 30, 2006

Who is Karen M. Keester?

Who is Karen M. Keester and why should we care about her?

On June 13, 2006, she was arrested for trying to cash a fake check for $1,400. A few days later on June 14, she tried applying for an $8,000 student loan. She was a persistent one!

She is a 31 year-old native of New Mexico who moved to Boston (Beacon Hill to be exact) and on July 29, 2006 was charged with stealing $250,000 over five years. She did so with “… bogus student loans and fake payroll checks while working through temporary employment agencies.” The judge revoked her bail for missing a court appearance and ordered a $25,000 cash bond for the new allegations of ID theft, which went far beyond the check cashing and bogus student loan charges from earlier. The police said there were probably many more victims from her ID theft adventure and would bring more charges later.

Keester has allegedly moved at least seven times over the past four years and used four different social security numbers, three dates of birth, and six state identification numbers. She also used the aliases Karen Kester and Michele Keester. She has been charged with larceny, forgery and identity theft.

“Assistant District Attorney Christine Helsel described an elaborate scheme in which investigators said Keester systemically manipulated temporary employment agencies. Helsel alleged that Keester worked for seven to 10 days at a variety of companies [over several years] that gave her access to confidential employee information. Keester typically used that information, Helsel said, to apply for student loans and also wrote herself payroll checks.” The Boston Globe, July 30, 2006.

She apparently used the Social Security number of an Indian woman to find work through temp agencies.

One of her alleged victims, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, accused her of stealing about $10,000. The organization had given her authority to write checks, and she used it to make deposits in her personal account. She also used a Planned Parenthood computer to apply for the student loans.

Of course, her lawyer said she was “flabbergasted” by these “false allegations”.

The prosecutors called her “a bold con artist”.

We say this is another excellent and sad example of how much Americans are under attack from potential identity theft losses. At least she did not use all that confidential information to commit acts of terrorism in the names of her alleged victims.


At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A colleague of mine from a Westford, MA Software company was a victim of her actions. She worked her 7-10 days and we caught her red-handed. My colleague received his money back after she made up a story of needing money. She gave him a bad check but was able to get the money back through the Police. I shudder to think that I trained her in my cube for a day.


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