Michigan woman stole dead mom's ID, spent $12,000 with credit cards

A woman is facing identity theft charges after her brother turned over evidence showing she made illegal use of a credit card when she ran one under her deceased mom's name. 

The 34-year-old woman from South Boardman, south of Kalkaska, also used her dead mom's identity to apply for additional cards.

Michigan State Police say a man came forward in April 2022 with a report of alleged identity theft committed by a family member. The man said his sister, Sarah-Lea Marie Helsel, had spent over $12,000 on her mom's credit card. 

A search warrant was conducted at Helsel's residence and evidence was seized. 

A report was then turned over to the Kalkaska County Prosecutor's Office and an arrest warrant was authorized July 17. She later turned herself into authorities on Aug. 3.

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Helsel was hit with a slew of identity theft charges during her arraignment this week. That includes counts of identity theft, false statement of identity for financial transaction device, stealing or retaining financial transactions device without consent, and one count of false pretenses over $999 but less than $20,000. 

Her bond was set at $10,000/10% cash surety.