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The scope of Deflorin’s alleged theft is still unknown, but data from the State Court Administrator’s Office show that the number of identity theft charges filed and convicted in Minnesota from 2004 to Sept. 29, 2013, show no discernible trend. In 2004, there were 87 identity theft convictions. Convictions peaked at 170 in 2008 and dropped in subsequent years.
As of late September of this year, there have been 133 charges filed and 68 convictions for identity theft.
The Federal Trade Commission reported recently that for the 13th year in a row, identity theft was the top complaint.
In 2012, complainants who reported their losses were cheated out of more than $1.4 billion.
Local authorities say that identity theft is the crime wave of the future, with even violent criminals and drug addicts turning to it because it’s safe, more lucrative and easier to evade police.
A forged check in June 2012 led investigators to Burg, who told them that she obtained her names from Warren, who allegedly received them from Deflorin in exchange for drugs, the complaints said.
Information from Burg led authorities to surveillance video of several transactions that allegedly show Gunderson using four different identities to purchase or pick up items, the complaints said.
Gunderson and Burg then allegedly pawned the items across the metro to make money off their fraudulent purchases.
The charges also allege that: Warren was arrested last July for possessing 200 stolen identities.
During a search of her home, police also found a printout of 155 PERA names and Social Security numbers.
Burg was arrested last August with three thumb drives containing 144 identities in her pocket.
Gunderson allegedly had a notebook listing the Social Security numbers of her daughter, deceased father and five other people.
It’s unclear how many of the stolen identities found among the suspects overlapped, but Allen said authorities believe there are 350 to 500 victims.
It’s unclear how much money the suspects made from the identities, he said.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib