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Three charged with identity theft scheme targeting St. Louis

When St. Louis residents are accused of something they did not do, often it comes down to a he-said, she-said situation, where the only thing to go off of is the word of one person versus another. This can also be true when it comes to criminal allegations brought against a person.

However, typically when the government charges a person with a crime, the government must have a solid basis of evidence in order to actually convict the person. This can include witness testimony from others, but it often involves physical evidence that the government alleges is connected to the crime.

For instance, three individuals were recently arrested in an alleged identity theft scheme that has targeted the St. Louis area. The scheme reportedly involved the use of dozens of prepaid credit cards, which were re-coded with actual credit card numbers belonging to local residents. After arresting the individuals, officials discovered more than 12 fake identifications, along with several iPads and video game consoles that were allegedly purchased through the scheme.

In conspiracy cases like the above, or any case for that matter, it is usually vital to the government's case to have physical evidence to connect those charged with the alleged crime. Accordingly, if the person charged can file a motion to suppress that evidence, it can drastically weaken the government's case and make it much more difficult for the government to obtain a conviction.

There are several different reasons why a court might suppress evidence. For instance, if law enforcement illegally obtained the evidence, such as through an invalid search and seizure, the court may refuse to let the government to introduce the evidence at trial. In addition, if the government fails to keep track of the evidence from the moment it was seized until it was used at trial, it can open questions of what happened to the evidence in the meantime, which can support an argument for suppression. Accordingly, a motion to suppress should be considered if the circumstances show that the evidence could be excluded from trial in a person's case.

Source: KMOV, "New identity theft scheme targeting St. Louis area families," Jan. 9, 2015

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