Chicago couple arrested in ID theft scam

Marilyn Rainey, ID theft suspect
Marilyn Rainey, ID theft suspect
Willie Collins, ID theft suspect
Willie Collins, ID theft suspect

By James Zambroski

(LOUISVILLE) -- Metro police say an identity theft scam almost worked, when a Chicago woman allegedly convinced mortgage lenders that she was someone else. The scheme unraveled at the last minute when the suspect tried to cash a big check. As WAVE 3 Investigator James Zambroski reports, this was a near perfect scam because the suspects took over an identity without anyone knowing about it until the very end.

Louisville Metro Police say a Chicago woman, Marilyn Rainey, nearly pulled off a scam in which she sold a house that she didn't own.

"Once you get a property description, you can get a property company to run a title search and determine if there's any liens or mortgages on the property," said Michael W. McClain of the law firm Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.

The alleged scam targeted the Highlands home of Russell and Sally Riggs. Russell Riggs is a retired partner in the law firm.

"The perpetrators scoped out Ms. Riggs, perhaps, or at least got some type of fake identification," McClain said.

the police report alleges Rainey and a confederate, Willie Collins also of Chicago, possessed counterfeit drivers licenses. The picture i.d.'s proved they were who they said they were.

"At that stage, you submit your application to the bank. The bank approves you based on the equity in the house," said McClain.

From there, it was one more step to the cash -- in this case, $294,567.

"And then you go to a closing -- and they give you a check," says McClain.

Since there was no lien on the Riggs property, Marilyn Rainey -- the person alleging she was Sally Riggs -- the seller of the Highlands home, got all the money.

According to McClain, "If there's a fictitious seller on the one side, then that person gets the money and they can get out of town with it."

The scam unraveled at the last minute when someone a BB&T bank became suspicious and called police. Rainey and Collins were arrested at the branch in Fern Creek. But the paper trail still indicates a big debt against the home of Russell and Sally Riggs.

"It could preclude them from using their equity to help out in a catastrophic situation," McClain said.

The scheme started coming apart when Russell Riggs got a deed to his home in the mail with someone else's name on it.

Bottom line, if you have suspicions about identity theft, you should go to the police immediately.

Online Reporter:  James Zambroski

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway