#6 Shoplifting and Identity Theft
#6Before I start this next chapter I need to bring up a couple other incidents that had occurred.When we lived in West Valley City my son Doug had been picked to play a part in a movie and we spent a period of a few weeks doing filming. It was a very exciting time for us all as Doug was acting with Kathy Baker and Adam Arkin. At this time my ex husband, Mark, was married to a lady named Loretta (name was changed). On the last night of filming the cast and crew threw a big party to celebrate and we, as parents, were all invited to this party. Unfortunately I had to work that night so Craig took Doug to the party. Somehow he and Loretta ended up in an argument, the police were called and they were both charged with simple assault. This was the first “criminal” record item I had experienced with Craig. They were both fined and put on probation.
The second incident happened one day when I received a phone call from the police to go pick Craig up from the station. This time he had been arrested for SHOPLIFTING. Of all things. Apparently he used the baby stroller to hide some plant bulbs and walked out of Home Depot without paying for them. I couldn’t believe it….plant bulbs??? Why would you risk anything for some cheap bulbs??? He told me it was the thrill of getting away with it. That is why he did it. RED FLAG.This incident violated his probation he was on so it was a bigger deal with the court and was entered into his criminal history. He was also fined of course and was not allowed back into Home Depot ever again.
Ok...so now back to the story….
Craig started bringing home a lot of new things. Big things. Furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances. I asked him where it was all coming from and he said those “people” that he had set up in trusts had paid him with credit at department stores and RC Wiley. He said that the purpose of having a trust is to keep your assets separated from your identity, so these people didn’t want to pay Craig directly and red flag the IRS. So they paid him by giving him gift cards. Yes, now I realize how incredibly naive I must have looked, but I do know I was trying very hard to build up the trust in our relationship again and I had been instructed by our counselor to either trust or leave. But here is one very strange detail…. I asked Craig if I could come and do some shopping with him, so that I could pick out some of the things we were getting, and he said no. He said I could go window shopping and make a list, but that I could not be with him at the time of purchase because he was the only one allowed to use those cards and he didn’t ever want it to be discovered that I was with him. Why this didn’t raise a red flag I have no idea. I know I grew suspicious and was starting to wonder what the real truth was, but I could not FATHOM what he was really doing.
Craig continued shopping for a period of weeks until one day I noticed a black car with two men in it, parked across the street from our house. We lived on a circle so there weren’t many houses around. This car was parked there for a couple days and I even spoke out loud to Craig questioning what he thought they were there for. He was cool as a cucumber and didn’t seem to care about it. Then on Friday morning Craig said he needed to take our boat in to get ready for summer. I helped him hook the boat up to the back of the van and watched as he pulled out of the driveway. The black car followed him. I ran inside and called him and told him they were following him. He was wearing an earpiece on his phone and left me on the line when they pulled him over around the corner from our house. They said the boat had an expired registration. I was so confused. Then they said they were taking him in. I was asking a lot of questions, freaking out, and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said you don’t get arrested for an expired boat registration!! Craig locked the van up and left the keys hidden for me and I had to go pick it up, along with the boat.
Craig was arrested and booked into jail that night. It hit the news immediately that he had been arrested for Theft by Deception. His name and face came up on every news break, I was horrified. Media started showing up on our front lawn. I grabbed the boys and got out of the house as quickly as possible and checked into a hotel to keep them from hearing the news on TV or from friends, while I tried to figure out what on earth was going on.
Here comes the shocker…. I saw the people being interviewed about their identity being stolen and realized how familiar their names and faces were. Then I realized they were my clients!! Craig had stolen files out of my office and had stolen my clients identities and ruined their credit while going on a massive shopping spree. I didn’t think things could get any worse than they had already been, but once again I was wrong. He was identified from security videos from the stores and they had zoomed in on his license plate while picking up large items at the back of RC Wiley. All they had to do was trace his license plate back to us, and then they parked outside of our house and waited for him to come out. They had seen all of the little kids in and out of the house and didn’t want to arrest him in front of them. I was very grateful for that gesture. And now I realized why Craig wouldn’t let me shop with him….I would recognize the names he was using!
By Sunday night Craig had been released from the SL jail. He called me from downtown SLC and I remember thinking he had escaped. Nothing was going to blind side me anymore (or so I thought).The Salt Lake jail had let him out due to being over booked. I drove downtown and picked him up, but now it was starting to hit me. I was living a life of lies and deceit and I needed to find a way to get out.Then of course I had to face my company. They are one of the largest financial services companies in North America and obviously had to investigate my involvement in this whole ordeal. They flew their top attorney out from back east and he sat down with me and interrogated me on EVERYTHING. He had already received a copy of Craigs file and brought it to the table with him. It was 3 or 4 inches thick. There was SO much he had done. The good news was they could tell by everything they had received in the police report that I had nothing to do with anything that had happened, other than it was MY CLIENTS. So this attorney said that they had to continue the investigation and while doing so I either had to resign (which would give me the opportunity to come back one day after I had been completely cleared) or they were going to have to terminate me and I would never be able to work for them again. I chose to resign, knowing full well I had absolutely nothing to do with Craig's criminal doings. This was a MAJOR incident in my life. I had worked SO hard. I had given up so much time with my family and sacrificed so much to build my agency, and now suddenly, overnight....it was all gone. The shame and humiliation was indescribable. The guilt was overwhelming, for allowing (trusting) Craig in my office. He often asked to come and use my printer, or sometimes during a meeting he would hang out in my office and do some work....I never thought for a second that my files were vulnerable to theft. He was my husband, why would I not trust him? Big mistake. Big mistake. So my plans for leaving were halted. Now I really had nothing. I don't know if Craig used my clients to intentionally destroy me, or if they were just easy for him to get to, but either way I lost everything and so did so many of my clients. I had to give up the dream of having my own business and go find a job.
One night I was at a school concert for one of the boys and my Mom just showed up and called me out. I thought there had been an accident, but it was Craig back in the news. She didn’t want the boys seeing it, so she came to get us. I had to call the kids out of the school play to protect them from what was coming. They were announcing that his day in court was coming up and that he was facing 3 felony charges and the chance of being deported since he was not a US citizen. He was a green card Resident Alien and if you get more than 2 felony charges or go to jail, the INS threatens to deport you immediately.
By this point I thought I had seen it all. I thought I had lived through the worst part of my life and that things could only get better. Once again I was very wrong….it hadn’t even begun.
Getting all of this out of my system has been very liberating.
Keep love in your heart always!