An Albertville woman is facing felony charges after she allegedly stole other people’s identity to claim more than $1,000 in pull tab money at the Monticello American Legion last year.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Wright County District Court:
Carole Jean Buckingham, 65, of Albertville, is charged with felony identity theft – using the identity of another person, as well as gambling fraud (a gross misdemeanor) after an investigation was conducted at the Monticello American Legion last fall.
The investigation was requested by two workers at the gambling station at the Monticello Legion back in October 2013. A volunteer working the gaming booth contacted the assistant gaming manager, who later spoke with Wright County deputies. The volunteer reported that she came to work early and spotted Buckingham “engaging in suspicious activity” while working the pull tab booth at the Monticello Legion.
After the volunteer reported the activity, the assistant gaming manager and gaming manger worked together to review records of pull tab winnings over previous days. Both noticed discrepencies, the report states, on several of the signed signatures from individuals who filed receipts for winning pull tabs. Specifically, it looked like the winner’s signatures had been forged on several receipts.
Signatures on the employee field were consistent with Buckingham’s.
After investigating, the managers honed in on a record on Oct. 28, 2013 for Donald Modesitt. Four different prize receipts were filed that evening. Two were consistent with Modesitt’s DMV signature (from his license). Two others were consistent with a different signature.
Further investigation showed this pattern continued on two other receipts, with Buckingham signing the employee field on those receipts as well.
The total amount of the forged receipts was more than $1,300.
Buckingham was suspended from work, but showed up to report for pull tab duty Oct. 31, 2013. The managers confronted her, telling her they “knew what she was doing.”
On Nov. 3, the defendant, Buckingham, came in and got some personal belongings and reported to the gaming manager that was “in financial distress,” the complaint concludes.
Felony identity theft carries a penalty of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The gross misdemeanor of gambling prizes claimed by fraud carries a sentence of one year and/or a $3,000 fine.
Buckingham was arrested and charged earlier this month. She will be tried in Wright County District Court.