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Ex-beauty queen accused of ID theft

June 8, 2009 8:33:01 AM PDT
A former beauty queen who funded her double life through numerous cases of identity theft is now facing serious charges.Officials said Susan Shaw's scams spanned the Pacific, from Oahu to Manhattan Beach.

Shaw lived on the 300 block of 11th Street for only about two months, and police said she paid $1,400 rent in cash for a room in a condo.

Shaw, the former Miss Hawaii International from 1992, was arrested and indicted last month on 122 counts of identity theft, forgery and money laundering.

"She started other accounts under my name, and after that, it was just numerous other credit cards, and apparently, she changed my address -- she went down and actually changed my address -- so I wasn't getting any mail," said Kanani Bona, the identity-theft victim.

Hawaiian detectives said Shaw applied for credit cards online at public places, and the cards were sent to various addresses. Police set up surveillance cameras on one mailbox, and that's how they were able to identify Shaw.

Shaw was later arrested after she ran a stop sign.

"I'm relieved that she got arrested now, and she won't be affecting other people's lives as well," said Julian Nakanishi, an identity theft victim.

Police said Shaw not only tricked at least 11 people out of at least $160,000, she also fooled her loved ones.

Her husband and two children in Oahu had no idea Shaw had been renting a room in Manhattan Beach.

Her family told investigators they didn't know how she afforded a lavish lifestyle, and why she traveled so much.

Manhattan Beach detectives obtained a search warrant for a home on 11th Street and found new evidence of 35 more ID theft victims in Hawaii. Police said Shaw had gathered everything from Social Security numbers to birth dates of victims and potential victims.

"She had full credit profiles," said Detective Joe Aiello, Manhattan Beach Police Department.

She had also lived in Hermosa Beach, and in the year and a half that she had lived in the South Bay part-time, she had two boyfriends.

Police said Shaw and the first boyfriend had even traveled to China, but the relationship ended when it apparently got more serious.

Shaw told both of her boyfriends that she had sold her business in Hawaii, and was coming to Southern California to retire.

Manhattan Beach police said they are not aware of any identity theft victims in Southern California, but they said the possibility still exists.

"She was well known throughout the area. She knows a lot of people, so I would venture to guess that we'll find victims here. It's just a matter of time before they even come forward," said Detective Aiello.

Shaw is being held on $1 million bail.

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