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N4T Investigators: Joke justice? - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Joke justice?

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Tucson - "I feel like I've been completely let down, I think the system isn't working."

Amy Flores' world has been turned upside down for almost a year. The 34 year-old Tucson school teacher had her identity stolen last November. She's not sure how it happened, but possibly because her mail was stolen. Police were investigating several cases of identity theft, and in February they arrested 33-year-old Angeline Lowery, at a south side apartment. "So I thought it was over," Flores told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

But it was far from over. Angeline Lowery was free for another four months. "I wouldn't have suffered much," Flores says. 

On March 14, the Pima County Attorney's Office recommended that Lowery be held without bond. Court records show the County Attorney cited "A  history of theft and dishonesty." "Drug use."  Prior felony convictions" and, a "History of failing to appear for court hearings."Two days later, on March 16th, Lowery appeared in Pima County Justice Court. She was released by Judge Maria Felix, without having to post bond. "I was really floored," Flores said. "I cried on my way home from work."

Judge Felix has not responded to our interview request. During the next four months, investigators say Lowery went on a spending spree, using not only Amy's identity, but also her husband's and that of seven other people. Sgt. Rick Radinsky is the head of T-P-D's Financial Crimes Unit. He says Lowery "is our suspect in at least a half a dozen of identity theft cases."

Lowery allegedly cashed three checks in Amy's name totaling $5700; bought furniture at Levitz, changed the beneficiary on Amy's state retirement account, used Amy's name to create on online account as a tax preparer, and ran up a bill at the Ritz-Carlton of more than $4000. 

Sgt. Radinsky said, "She gets put in jail, she comes out and immediately starts it right over again." 

And there's more: Lowery allegedly went on the state's motor vehicles web site and obtained a driver's license in Amy's name. Lowery was pulled over in May and charged with reckless driving and speeding. Amy was unaware of this so when she didn't show up for court or pay the fine, her driver's license was suspended. It's still suspended because she has to wait for an "identity hearing." Amy relies on colleagues for rides to and from her job at school, and on friends and family for rides elsewhere. "It's been incredibly inconvenient," Flores says.

On June 23, Tucson Police arrested Lowery a third time. She was found here at the Ritz-Carlton. Detectives say besides the allegedly stolen credit cards, Lowery had methamphetamine on her. 

Sgt. Radinksy said, "We make the arrest, we can only do what we can do."

On June 27, Lowery was back in justice court and Judge Erica Cornejo set bond at $2500. Lowery could not post it and was jailed. After further investigation, more charges are added, for a total of 29 felonies, mostly fraud and theft. Lowery pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Meanwhile, Amy Flores praised the detectives, and has a message for judges who hear her case. "That it's up to them to end this nightmare. They've let us down in the past," Flores says. 

Lowery declined an interview from the Pima County Jail, where she remains held on $7000 bond. If found guilty on all charges, Lowery faces at least 17 years in prison.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line, 520-955-4444.

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