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Identity theft case filed

WINDOM -- A bank in Mountain Lake has lost more than $4,000 to a man who is now charged with stealing the identity of a woman to open a bank account, according to a warrant filed this week in Cottonwood County.

The document states an Asian man, later identified as Vannaseng Xaysana Lee Padichit, 31, of Brooklyn Center, opened an account Nov. 5, 2010, under the name Kemeria Mohammed Adem.

He provided a copy of a Minnesota driver's license renewal form and a photocopy of a driver's license.

The criminal complaint states the document appears as though a photo of a male had been affixed over the original photo on the license.

The documents, along with Padichit's statements to the bank employee, allowed him to open a checking account in Adem's name.

He told the cashier his address had recently changed, and asked that his checks be sent to an address on Fifth Avenue in Mountain Lake.

He was provided with a set of starter checks for the account he had just opened.

The bank contacted law enforcement two weeks later about a possible check fraud case.

The officer who investigated the case was given three checks that were written to Adem.

Two of them were returned with Stop Payment notifications, the third was on a closed account. The officer checked with the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles and discovered Adem is listed as a female.

The bank manager told the officer in early December that Padichit had cashed several checks, most on accounts that were closed, and made withdrawals on the Adem account, causing a financial loss of $4,172. Padichit would allegedly come to the bank with one or more checks written out to Adem, make a deposit and get cash back. Later the checks would be returned as Stop Payment or Account Closed.

On Dec. 30, 2010, the officer received a call from a federal credit union regarding Padichit's arrest for attempting to pass a check from the bank in Mountain Lake.

The account had been flagged as fraudulent. The officer reviewed the jail inmates and found a name that matched one of the names on a check written to Adem.

He contacted the jail and asked for a booking photo of Padichit.

That photo matched the person in the surveillance video who opened the account in Adem's name.

Three bank employees viewed the photo and positively identified Padichit as the man who had opened the account in Mountain Lake.

Padichit is charged with one count of identity theft, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.