Two people are behind bars on charges of racketeering and more than a dozen more are suspected in an alleged check fraud scheme that police say victimized more than a dozen local businesses and nonprofits.
Melodie Dawn Pinner, 36, and Craig Sterling Knight, 35, are two of three accused ringleaders of an identity theft ring whose local victims included the Oregon Department of Justice, World Famous Auto and Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland in a scheme that lasted from July 15 through Oct. 12, 2016, prosecutors say.
A warrant has been issued for a third suspected ringleader, Jeffrey Adam Todd, 28, after he failed to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court Wednesday morning.
Knight was arraigned Jan. 26 for his alleged role in the scheme, though he's been lodged in Jackson County Jail since Oct. 5 on felony charges of identity theft, vehicle theft, forgery and burglary from unrelated cases. He remains lodged on $235,000 bail.
Pinner was lodged Feb. 1 in Jackson County Jail, where she is being held on more than $1 million bail and faces nearly 60 felony counts of identity theft, five counts of aggravated identity theft and racketeering.
Medford police began investigating Pinner in late December, according to documents filed in a separate aggravated identity theft case in which Pinner allegedly drove a suspect to several banks to cash counterfeit business checks Dec. 21. A Bank of the Cascades employee alerted Medford police to a fraud in progress, and police stopped Pinner based on witness descriptions of her car.
Police seized her car and executed a search warrant on the vehicle Dec. 29. Inside the car, police found numerous counterfeit business checks in the vehicle's center console, floor board, passenger door pocket and trunk.
In the first week of January, police seized computers, printers, check-making material, counterfeit checks and bank account information for 41 victims at Pinner's home in the 400 block of Fairmount Street. Many of the victims were local businesses, such as ComNet Marketing, White City Metals and Rogue Community College.
Another 11 suspects are charged in the latest scheme:
Phillip Earl Chandler, 39, of Salem faces two felony charges of identity theft for his alleged role in crimes occurring Aug. 22 and 29. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Todd Daniel Fields, 29, of the 600 block of North Grape Street, Medford, faces three felony counts of identity theft in alleged crimes between Aug. 22 and 29. Fields was lodged in jail Tuesday on $30,000 bail for unrelated misdemeanor charges of stalking and violating a restraining order.
Tiffany Rose Guidotti, 28, of the 1900 block of Lampman Road, Gold Hill, faces six felony counts of identity theft in alleged crimes between Aug. 19 and Sept. 3. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Ryan Joseph Dunn, 42, of the 1500 block of Cypress Point Drive, Medford, faces nine felony counts of alleged identity theft stemming from July 15 through Aug. 16, and a single felony charge of aggravated identity theft from Aug. 24. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Ricky William Lavrar, 35, of Roseburg, faces three felony charges of identity theft that allegedly occurred between Aug. 5 and Aug. 19. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Jillian Lisa Marie Mahon, 27, of the 1200 block of Progress Drive, Medford, faces two felony charges of identity theft that allegedly occurred Aug. 5. Her court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Brandon Wade Orr, 37, of the 200 block of West Pine Street, Central Point, faces five felony counts of identity theft from alleged crimes between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Naomi Claire Moulard, 25, of the 600 block of Pracht Street, Ashland, faces four felony counts of identity theft for alleged crimes between July 22 and Aug. 9. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Taylor Kay Nething, 21, of the 3600 block of Highway 227, Trail, faces seven counts of identity theft for alleged crimes between Aug. 22 and 26. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Stephanie Ray Ann Wilson, 31, of the 200 block of Cheryl Lane, Phoenix, faces two counts of identity theft from alleged crimes Sept. 19-20. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 16.
Kimberly Ann Roberts, 30, of the 300 block of Alice Street, Medford, faces a single charge of identity theft from Sept. 22. A warrant was issued for her arrest Jan. 27, court records show.
More victims may still be out there, according to Medford police Lt. Kerry Curtis. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call police at 541-770-4783.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.