Stolen purse leads woman to fight to prove she's an innocent victim

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A woman from Humble, who says she was the victim of identity theft and was wrongly accused of theft, claims she's struggling to find work as a result.

A woman from Humble, who says she was the victim of identity theft and was wrongly accused of theft, claims she's struggling to find work as a result.

Hywatha Goodwill says the theft by check charge filed against her in Montgomery County was dismissed last week.


She found out late last year that someone had stolen her identity and used her name to create bogus checks passed at a number of stores in Montgomery and Harris counties. Someone purchased about $1,500 worth of merchandise in all. An arrest warrant was issued for her in Montgomery County. No charges were ever filed in Harris County.

"I was upset because I had to prove my innocence over something I didn't do," she said.

Goodwill had to pay for an attorney to fight for dismissal. The charge was only dropped, she says, after a handwriting analysis and after investigators saw that her picture looked nothing like the woman caught on surveillance passing the hot checks.

"They dismissed it immediately. In the meantime, she'd a had a warrant out for two years, because they didn't know," said Goodwill's attorney Tracey Pullan.

Goodwill thinks this all came about after she lost her purse back in 2013. It had her driver's license and Social Security card in it. She's the victim here but has been treated, she says, like someone who did something wrong. Still today, you can find her name in a publicly searchable county database showing she was at one time charged.



Not all employers will find it comforting, Goodwill says, even if it does say the charge was dismissed. "I didn't do it. You didn't convict me. I've never been to jail for it so why should I have to pay money out of my pocket to get this taken off my background?" she said.

Goodwill says she'd much rather spend money on anything other than getting that dismissed charge expunged. She's working in fast food while she continues to look for a better job.

The Montgomery County District Attorney's office, which prosecutes fraudulent check cases, did not respond to ABC13's repeated requests for comment.
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