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ID theft victims: Clovis North baseball team

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An identity theft investigation led Fresno police to the Clovis North baseball team, where they say dozens of players and their parents are potential victims.

"A big concern is how many victims are there and how active are they," said Sgt. Sherree Flores, who heads the financial crimes unit at the Fresno Police Department.

Action News talked to more than a dozen parents about their personal information being in the hands of suspected identity thieves. Most were not overly concerned, but one said she's been an identity theft victim before and now she's seeing signs of trouble for her son.

On the diamond, the Clovis North baseball team is nearly invincible. The Broncos are 24-6 and ranked 24th in the state of California. But when Fresno police served a search warrant at a storage facility in northwest Fresno, they found evidence that the players were secretly vulnerable -- to identity theft. More than 20 athletic emergency cards turned up in a facility police linked to Jack and Jennifer Fenton.

"What it appears is the Fentons are taking in stolen property, property that is stolen in a vehicle burglary, a residential burglary," Sgt. Flores said. "They may be the ones doing the burglary. They may be the person who's receiving the documents."

The Fentons have extensive criminal histories and financial crimes investigators say the husband and wife are constantly looking for new identity theft victims.

"They have been arrested multiple times and every time we'd arrest them, we'd find additional documents," Sgt. Flores said.

The latest search warrant turned up Social Security cards, driver's licenses and credit cards -- standard currency for identity thieves. But police also found the emergency cards that Clovis Unified administrators say disappeared two years ago, when someone burglarized a coach's car.

The discovery hasn't created a full-fledged identity emergency for any of the families yet, but one parent tells me she's receiving unusual credit card offers for her teenage son. And investigators say the Fentons typically collect personal identifying information with a criminal purpose in mind.

"They have victimized hundreds of people," Sgt. Flores said. "We have located numerous victims and talked to them and they have been establishing new credit in these people's names."

Charges are still pending in this investigation, but Jack Fenton is already in jail on a theft conviction. Jennifer is facing a misdemeanor identity theft charge.

Among the people whose information was found in the storage unit is San Francisco Giants bullpen coach Mark Gardner.

Investigators say an easy way to avoid identity theft is to run your credit report with all three credit bureaus every year. Once you do it, nobody can run the reports for a year.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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crimetracker, fresno, fresno county, clovis, local, corin hoggard
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