August 02, 2019
A pregnant woman accused of identity theft stole thousands worth of merchandise using Taraji P. Henson’s personal information. She was arrested this weekend, a year after her fraudulence was first discovered by Henson's camp.
29-year-old Alicia Newby was arrested this weekend after months of assuming multiple identities in order to accumulate at least $12,000 worth of fraudulent purchases. One of those identities was Taraji P. Henson’s.
In August 2018, Henson’s manager alerted police after discovering suspicious transactions in behalf of his client.
Using the “Empire” star’s email address and personal information, a pregnant Newby managed to acquire cash to support 26 fraudulent transactions.
Henson’s manager canceled some of those transactions amounting to $4,000 when she learned of the theft last year.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Costello who presided in the hearing after Newby’s arrest said items were being shipped to an address in the South Side linked to Newby. The apartment was also leased using another identity the mother of six assumed.
Newby raised more red flags when she abandoned a damaged apartment, leaving behind unpaid rent amounting to $4,000. She emerged a few months later after having pawned a stolen designer bag.
Newby drew attention to herself further a month after Henson reported the theft. She caused a scene after a U.S. Postal Office Service mail carrier refused to deliver her packages believing they were a result of theft.
Newby assaulted the postal worker and was later captured making demands on camera. Due to her aggressive stance, she managed to recover the items she was fighting for.
Newby has bipolar disorder and is pregnant with her seventh child.
By December, Newby raised more red flags when she abandoned a damaged apartment, leaving behind unpaid rent amounting to $4,000. She emerged a few months later after having pawned a stolen designer bag.
Through photos identified by the pawnshop owner and postal workers, and the investigation of email and social media accounts, authorities had enough proof to tie Newby to identity theft.
A staunch advocate for mental health, Henson may see Newby’s case as a result of her bipolar disorder which is partly characterized by manic episodes that may drive a person to rack up credit charges
On July 27, Newby was finally arrested in her apartment and was charged with one felony count for participating in a financial crime enterprise. Several electronic devices believed to have been fraudulently purchased were discovered in her apartment.
An emotional Newby faced prosecutors during her bail hearing where she was granted a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. She was released from custody the following day with the restriction that she be electronically monitored and will have no access to the internet. She was also forbidden from making contact with her victims.
Newby has bipolar disorder and is pregnant with her seventh child. She is set to appear in court again on August 8.
According to Mental Health America, while an estimated 2.3 million have bipolar disorder, most African Americans who have it remain undiagnosed and untreated
Henson has yet to comment on Newby’s arrest. It is believed the 48-year-old actress’ identity contributed most to Newby’s success in defrauding several financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, American Express, and Pay Pal.
A staunch advocate for mental health, Henson may see Newby’s case as a result of her bipolar disorder which is partly characterized by manic episodes that may drive a person to rack up credit charges.
In fact, this was one of the reasons Newby’s attorney provided in order to allow her release on bail. The other reason was her pregnancy.
According to Mental Health America, while an estimated 2.3 million have bipolar disorder, most African Americans who have it remain undiagnosed and untreated.
This is due to a lack of financial resources and access to mental health care and the lack of information to promote understanding of the illness and its treatment.
One of Henson's goals, when she spoke to Congress, is to promote mental health education in schools and to provide resources for African Americans who suffer from mental illnesses. Newby may benefit from this if discovered that her crime was a result of her mental issues.