RENO, Nev. - She's young, attractive, an aspiring actress and model and once apparently had her sights on a law career.
Tonight she's in the Washoe County Jail charged with identity theft.
Velvet Breanna Knight Beaman, a.k.a. Velvet Bernhard, 25, was arrested on Monday, January 13, for 27 counts of identity theft and using identifying information of another with intent to harm. Additional charges included burglary, possession of a forged instrument, and uttering a forged instrument.
Investigators say she acquired the personal identifying information of at least 11 identified victims within Washoe County, through various means, Then used this information to fraudulently write checks and make credit card purchases.
Many of the identified victims were not aware of the fraud until notified by detectives from the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Fraud Unit. Sgt. Dennis Carry of the sheriff's cybercrimes unit says he expects there may be many more victims out there.
Beaman is currently being held in the Washoe County Detention Facility. Her bail was set at $575,000.00.
She's also being held for probation violation.
She was charged in 2012 with credit card fraud, received a one year sentence, but the sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation.
Sheriff’s Office tips that will help minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud are available on the Staying Safe page of washoesheriff.com.
Sgt. Carry says until there is tighter security on bank accounts and credit cards, people can best protect themselves by frequently checking their account information, using one of the on line services which alert you to suspicious activity and being very careful where and to whom you make your personal information available.
Beaman attended Carson City High School, was active in the local club scene and on social media. She maintains a website promoting a career as an actress and model and reportedly boasted of a bit part on the TV series "Dexter."
She also claimed to be pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.