Woman says ex-friend stole her ID

August 5, 2011 4:15:13 PM PDT
Imagine someone pretending to be you, racking up a criminal record in other cities -- all while using your name. A local woman says it has happened to her, and now she's trying to set the record straight.

Leiya Elliott says her life has been stolen and getting it back hasn't been easy. Now she could even lose her driver's license.

Believe it or not, this mess all started after a fight between two friends over a purse. Now one of those women is in jail accused of identity theft.

"She was booked in Texas City jail, under my name as you can see, using my date of birth," said Elliott.

Elliott's been having a tough time trying to clear her name. She claims her former friend Cheronda Cobbs took her driver's license months ago, and has been using Elliott's identity, getting in trouble with the law.

"I never would have thought of this, never," Elliott said. "I never would have thought that a friend would have done this."

Elliott told me she realized her identity was compromised back in December, when she receiving strange notices to appear in court for traffic violations.

She said, "Come to find out, when I looked at the letter, it showed there was a Jeep involved, and I know I don't drive a Jeep."

But Elliott says her old friend Cheronda Cobbs did drive the Jeep listed on one of the citations. She and her family began investigating and say they learned Cobbs was booked in jail several times under Elliott's name.

"I found out she went to jail in Harris County under my name," Elliott said. "She went to jail under my name in Texas City, and she's booked in Galveston County Jail right now."

Eyewitness News learned Dickinson police arrested Cobbs just last week for giving false information during a traffic stop. Investigators tell me Cobbs tried passing herself as Elliott but got caught.

That's some relief for the real Leiya Elliott for now. But she's still having a tough time trying to clear her own name.

"I'm trying to go to the different courts," she said. "I'm trying to prove myself that I am who I am. I'm trying to prove that I'm not the one getting all these tickets, because Austin is to the point where they are suspending my license."

Police tell Eyewitness News the public can protect themselves in cases like this by investing in a life lock or ID theft program. The Texas Department of Public Safety and municipal courts say it's also a good idea to report possible ID theft matters to local police.

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