Sauk County authorities say a Mauston woman used “mailbox shopping” and information obtained from the “dark web” to steal peoples’ identities for her own financial gain.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday charges 27-year-old Annie Ella Rozinski with creating a fake driver’s license and using it to cash an insurance check she stole from someone’s mailbox. She also has been accused of fraudulent credit card use.
Officers from Lake Delton and Mauston unraveled the scheme, according to the complaint, through interviews and store surveillance footage. Two others alleged to have been involved face separate charges.
A Baraboo insurance company reported in December that a $1,586 check it sent someone was cashed at a Wisconsin Dells Mexican store and restaurant. However, the intended recipient of the check claimed they never received it.
Authorities say they later received information from a Wisconsin Dells man, 55-year-old Gary L. Jordan, who alleged in a police interview that Rozinski had cashed the check.
“Jordan explained that Annie has the ability to construct photo identifications that resemble a paper temporary driver’s license one would receive from the Department of Motor Vehicles,” the complaint states. “Jordan knew this firsthand because Annie made one for Jordan in order for him to receive a cash payout at Ho-Chunk Casino.”
Investigators obtained surveillance video of the store in which the check was cashed, and Rozinski’s probation agent allegedly verified that she was the person cashing the check.
In a jailhouse interview, Rozinski allegedly told investigators that another man, Kevin M. Maun, 28, of Mauston, introduced her to a technique called “mailbox shopping.” She said they would “look for checks, documents with personally identifying information, and credit card pre-approvals” in peoples’ mailboxes.
Once they obtained something from a person’s mailbox, Rozinski told investigators, Maun would use the documents to obtain further identifying information, such as driver’s license and Social Security numbers, from the “dark web,” an encrypted network of websites.
Rozinski said Maun would then use the information to create a fake identification card that could be used to cash a check or use a credit card.
Authorities also allege that Rozinski and Maun used another person’s identity and credit card to make purchases at various businesses in the Lake Delton area.
Rozinski has been charged with three counts of felony identity theft, three counts of felony forgery, and two counts of credit card fraud. She is currently incarcerated at the Juneau County Jail and is due to appear March 20 in Sauk County Circuit Court.
Jordan was charged Tuesday with felony forgery and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer. Authorities allege he cashed a fraudulent check at the same grocery store.
When he was interviewed about it, the complaint states, Jordan attempted to blame the check cashing on Rozinski. However, authorities say surveillance from the store shows him cashing the check.
Maun was charged in Sauk County last month with misdemeanor counts of obstructing an officer and receiving stolen property, plus two counts of felony bail jumping. Online court documents show he has 11 other felony cases pending in Sauk, Juneau, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Monroe and Portage counties.