Richland man accused in identity theft case

By the Tri-City HeraldAugust 21, 2013 

A 24-year-old Richland man is accused of charging more than $3,600 to credit cards he opened in the name of his live-in girlfriend.

Phillip John Mitchell pleaded innocent Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to one count each of first- and second-degree identity theft and second-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Trial is scheduled Oct. 14.

Court documents state that after Mitchell was arrested earlier this month for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, she went through their Leslie Road apartment and found a number of items showing he'd committed identity theft in her name, as well as other names.

The girlfriend found multiple credit cards in her name for which she never applied. She immediately canceled the cards and discovered that two cards had outstanding balances of more than $3,600, documents said.

Mitchell also had keys belonging to a Kennewick couple, over $1,200 in jewelry that had been stolen from their relative and two denial letters from credit card companies, court documents said. The card applications were in the name of that couple's relative, but showed Mitchell's home address, documents said.

Several pieces of the stolen jewelry were sold to a Kennewick pawn shop on July 19.

After Mitchell's arrest on these charges, he allegedly admitted to opening cards in his girlfriend's name and using them without her knowledge or permission, and to selling jewelry to pawn shops.

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