Man charged with trafficking stolen identities

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—A 31-year-old Wisconsin man is being held in the Shelby County Jail on a $100,000 bond after being charged with alleged possession of multiple stolen identifications and intent to commit identity theft.

Kotkas

Kotkas

Kaupo Kotkas of Algoma, Wis., was arrested in Pelham on March 26. According Pelham Deputy Police Chief Larry Palmer, Kotkas was allegedly in possession of 22 altered credit cards containing information of 22 separate victims.

“He had recoded the magnetic strip on credit cards,” said Palmer. Palmer said recoding the cards gave Kotkas the ability to make purchases using the information of the 22 victims.

“This is still an open investigation,” Palmer said. “There may be more to this than we have now.”

Kotkas, a citizen of Estonia, was originally placed under a $30,000 bond. However, this was raised to $100,000 following the district attorney’s recommendation identifying Kotkas as a flight risk.

As of March 31, Kotkas was still being held in the Shelby County Jail.

If convicted of the Class B felony, Kotkas could face up to 20 years in prison.