LPHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) –  Lee County Sheriff’s investigators say they’ve uncovered an alleged complex identity theft and fraud scheme, run allegedly by a Phenix City woman, that spanned multiple organizations and involved the assumption of various false identities. 

The case began on September 20, 2023, when the University of Florida reported an alleged online theft incident to local authorities. According to the report, an individual had allegedly assumed the identity of the president of the Council of Academic Deans for Research Education Institutions and, in that role, instructed another organization officer to make a payment of $23,400.00 to her.

On September 22nd, Lee County Sheriff’s Investigators executed a search warrant at the residence of Meredith Diane Craft, a 45-year-old resident of the 200 block of Lee Rd. 2040 in Phenix City, Lee County. During the search, investigators say they uncovered evidence of alleged additional fraudulent activities and theft. This discovery prompted investigators to reach out to multiple alleged victims based on the recovered evidence. 

Investigators allege Craft assumed multiple identities and used these personas to defraud her victims.

The investigation revealed Craft had allegedly stolen approximately $48,267.00 from her victims. Among the victims were notable organizations such as the Idaho Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, American Board of Animal Acupuncture, Inc., as well as private citizens.

As a result of the investigation, Craft was arrested and charged with a series of allegations: 

  • 2 counts of Forgery 3rd Degree
  • 2 counts of Theft of Property 1st Degree
  • 2 counts of Possession of a Forged Instrument
  • 2 counts of Forgery 2nd Degree
  • 1 count of Theft of Property 2nd Degree
  • 1 count of Identity Theft

Following her arrest, Craft posted a bond for $34,000.00 and was subsequently released from the Lee County Jail.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is actively pursuing this case and anticipates that additional charges may be filed as the investigation unfolds. Anyone with information related to this case is urged to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 334-749-5651 or Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 334-215-STOP (7867).