Identity thief uses Butte County inmate accounts in elaborate money laundering scheme

Oct 28, 2015 6:40 PM by News Staff

An Amador County woman has admitted to using stolen credit card information she purchased on the “dark web” to launder thousands of dollars through the jail accounts of a dozen Butte County inmates.

Butte County prosecutors said Wednesday that Tiffany Hollingshead, 46, of Jackson, plead no contest to nine counts of identity theft for carrying out an elaborate money laundering scheme with the help of two Butte County inmates, Andrea Chesnut, 31, of Redding, and Lao Vang, 36, of Oroville.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says Hollingshead used bitcoin to purchase the identities of cyber hack victims on the so-called “dark web”, an expanse of internet space used mostly by cyber criminals. The “dark web” cannot be accessed through search engines, and requires the installation of a special web browser.

Ramsey says Hollingshead enlisted the help of Chesnut and Vang who were both inmates at the Butte County Jail. Chesnut and Vang provided the names of inmates to Hollingshead, who would use the stolen cards to put money into their jail accounts.

A total of 12 inmates agreed to give Hollingsworth the funds when they were released.

In all Hollingshead deposited approximately $27,000 into inmate accounts.

The scheme unraveled when Butte County correctional officers noticed the unusual activity on several inmates accounts. The officers’ notified sheriff’s investigators who were able to link the activity back to Hollingsworth.

Hollingshead was arrested on September 21 at a Super 8 Motel in Vacaville. A search of her motel room yielded numerous computers and cell phones as well as the personal identifying information of over 100 people, including social security numbers, bank account and credit card info.


Most Popular