Identity Theft

Mildreada Ruiz Rapa called herself the "grand dame" of identify theft. Now she's the grand dame of a jail cell. The U.S. District Court in Tacoma, WA, sentenced her to eight years for a collection of fraud charges ranging from the fraudulent use of Social Security numbers to real estate fraud to income tax fraud.

Her specialty was using fake credit histories to purchases houses. And her children followed right along in her footsteps. Her daughter, Melanie Andrews, earned herself a 15 month prison sentence, and her son, Michael Andrews, scammed his way into an 18 month prison term.

Judges will not be offering to let the family members post bonds. They don't respect that process much either, as evidenced by what they did after a 2003 arrest In Vancouver. They posted bond, secured with a parcel of real estate, and the bond itself was fraudulent. They walked out of jail and into new identities, fleeing to Arizona where they started the process all over again.

Then the case got even scarier. Using false identities, family members impersonated nurses and worked at dialysis clinics in Phoenix and Casa Grande.It was a great opportunity to steal person information from patients who were awaiting kidney transplants.

Now they're all behind bars, but we hope the Warden keeps a lock on the prison filing cabinets.

Real Estate

Now here's an interesting twist. Um, shout. Perhaps, bite? Or maybe pummel?

It happened in San Diego, California, in early September, 2006. FOX 6 Television Reporter John Mattes, along with a cameraman, tried to obtain a news story - and instead ended up with cuts to his face, cracked ribs and bite wounds. Did he get mauled by a large animal? You be the judge...he was attacked by two suspected scam artists who obviously did NOT want to be caught on film.

Mattes suspected that Assas "Sam" Suleiman was stealing identities, using those identities to purchase houses, and then renting the houses out and collecting the monthly rent payments. With the camera still rolling throughout the confrontation, it made for some interesting television viewing (perhaps not the story that Mattes thought he was going to get, but newsworthy all the same.)

In the film, Mattes, microphone in hand, is seen interviewing a man outside of a LaJolla home. ENTER: Rose Amelia Barraza, wife of the suspected scammer. She is shouting and screaming at the men. She sprays them with a water bottle and then hits Mattes in the face with it. ENTER: Suleiman arrives in a car and punches Mattes in the head and face. He puts the battered reporter in a headlock, and won't stop the gouging, hair-pulling and biting even when the man who was about to be interviewed, Brian Phillips, tries to intervene and pull Suleiman off of Mattes. At the same time Barraza shouts a terrorist threat, threatens to get a gun, displays a deadly weapon ...and then steals Mattes' microphone!

Suleiman and Barraza were arrested and booked for investigation of numerous charges. Among the things that will obviously come up in the investigation ... Identity Theft.