“Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson’s email account was hacked by a Chicago mother, who allegedly stole the star’s identity, according to a report.
Alicia Newby, 29, cried throughout a court hearing Sunday on a felony charge of continuing a financial crime enterprise after she allegedly racked up in excess of $12,000 in fraudulent charges, including more than $4,000 that was canceled after Henson’s manager noticed the bogus transactions in August, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Prosecutors did not identify Newby’s alleged targets, but police and court records cited by the newspaper list the Emmy-nominated actress as one victim in the case. It’s unclear how Newby and Henson were connected, but investigators are now probing whether Newby victimized any other cast members from the hit Fox show, a police source told the newspaper.
As part of her scheme, Newby — who suffers from bipolar disorder and is pregnant with her seventh child, according to her court-appointed attorney — successfully targeted Henson’s email account, prosecutors said.
“Once this was done, the defendant then raided the account for a variety of information,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Costello told a judge, citing phone numbers, addresses and financial account data Newby was then able to use during online shopping sprees.
Prosecutors said reps for Henson contacted Chicago police after her manager spotted unauthorized charges in her name and realized that the items were being sent to South Side addresses with no connection to actress, the Tribune reports.
Newby is also accused of defrauding JP Morgan Chase, American Express, PayPal and several other companies in the scheme. She was arrested Saturday at her apartment in the city’s Galewood section and investigators recovered some of the fraudulently gained merchandise she acquired during the alleged scam, according to the newspaper.
Costello said Newby had utility bills in her name mailed to both South Side addresses and managed to obtain a lease at one of the residences by using a second victim’s identity.
A postal worker refused to deliver packages at one of the addresses in September, thinking it was part of an identity theft scam, according to prosecutors. But Newby later got her hands on the ill-gotten merchandise after causing havoc at a post office, Costello said.
Newby was released on a $10,000 signature bail and was ordered to submit to electronic monitoring. She was also barred from contacting victims or witnesses in the case, as well as from using the internet as her case proceeds, the Tribune reports.
A message seeking comment from Henson was not immediately returned early Monday.
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