UNC-TV Pledges To Review Donation System Following ID Theft Case
Posted July 20, 2004 6:04 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A woman who worked for University of North Carolina Television is accused of stealing pledge drive donors' credit card numbers and going on a spending spree.
Irene Van Dyke was one of dozens of donors who had credit card information stolen after making a $100 donation to UNC-TV. She later found that her June credit card statement had an unfamiliar charge for $622.
"It's very sad. I'm afraid people will be afraid to donate," Van Dyke said.
Adaeze Okeke, 22, was arrested at LaGuardia Airport in New York Friday as she boarded a flight to Raleigh. Okeke, who worked as an office temp for UNC-TV earlier this year, was hired to enter credit card information from pledge sheets. Police say she was carrying some of the sheets at the time of her arrest.
Prosecutors say Okeke used credit card numbers from 60 donors to buy $12,000 in Travelocity vacation packages.
Syretta Scott, 23, a woman traveling with Okeke, was also charged.
Officials say Okeke and Scott live in the same upper Manhattan building and were charged with grand larceny, identity theft, scheming to defraud and unlawful possession of personal identification information. If convicted, they each could face up to seven years in prison.
UNC-TV officials said they are trying to make the station's donation system safer.
"We will definitely be going in and evaluating and trying to make sure we do an even better job," UNC-TV spokeswoman Delores James said.
Attorneys expect the women to face charges in North Carolina and New York.
"The police report has been taken and the detective will contact us and I've given the information to the New York prosecutor, which should help them. We'll just coordinate between the two," said David Harrison, an attorney for UNC-TV.
The victims are protected by their credit card companies, so they will not lose any money. The Raleigh temp agency that hired Okeke said the UNC-TV job was her only assignment.