ID theft suspect pleads guilty to 19 counts
by Wes Mayer
A woman was sentenced to prison on Nov. 8 after she pleaded guilty to multiple counts of identity fraud in Coweta County Superior Court.
Wyndi Wilkes pleaded guilty in a blind plea to 19 counts of identity fraud, one count of financial transaction card theft and one count of affixing a license plate in an attempt to conceal, said Investigator Chad McDonald with the Coweta County Sheriff's Office, the lead investigator on the case. Defense attorney Rick Samper represented Wilkes in the case.
Coweta Superior Court Judge John Simpson accepted Assistant District Attorney Kierston Phillips' recommendation, and Wilkes was sentenced to 30 years, with 15 to serve in prison.
'The credit needs to go to Inv. Chad McDonald and [Assistant District Attorney Herb Cranford],' Phillips said. 'Particularly, I'd like to emphasize how much of a difference it makes when you have an investigator that is willing to get out there and go the extra mile for you. Chad was always willing to help me find these witnesses, get subpoenas served, interview them, and put everything together. I wish all investigators were as thorough with their case files as Chad. Herb also deserves the credit because he got everything put in place by getting notices and motions filed.'
According to McDonald, Wilkes was originally arrested on April 10, 2013, when Deputy Joe Evans found her sleeping in her vehicle at the intersection of Highway 27 and Carroll Road. Wilkes was arrested for not having a valid driver's license or license plate, and Evans also found a plastic garbage bag containing stolen mail from 48 different Coweta County residents, McDonald said.
The mail included financial information about the residents, and some letters had been opened, McDonald said, and a stolen credit card was also found in her purse.
At the time of her arrest, Wilkes was charged with 48 counts of identity fraud and one count of financial transaction card theft. Because Wilkes opened 19 of the letters, she was only indicted for 19 counts of identity fraud, Phillips said.
'As the lead investigator for the case, I must point out that many people deserve credit in helping successfully prosecute this case,' said McDonald. 'First and foremost, it was Deputy Joe Evans' proactive patrol that led to noticing Wilkes passed out in her vehicle and the subsequent discovery of stolen mail in her possession. Assistant District Attorney Herb Cranford made a commitment that Wilkes would be held accountable and not placed on probation. During Wilkes' plea hearing, Assistant District Attorney Kierston Phillips convinced Judge Simpson that the defense counsel's recommendation for considerable time on probation was not appropriate given Wilkes' history of using her probated status to take advantage of more and more victims.'