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Local attorney indicted
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A local attorney has been hit with identity theft charges after she allegedly tricked a bank into changing the address on the account of her husband’s ex-wife.
The suspect, Christina Stanford, has been indicted by the Coffee County grand jury on one count of identity theft. The crime is a Class D felony which carries two to four years in prison.
Stanford is a partner with her husband, Chris Stanford, in Stanford Law Firm based in Manchester. They are Warren County residents and Chris Stanford briefly was in the race for district attorney here before bowing out when fellow attorney Tim Pirtle entered the race to face incumbent Lisa Zavogiannis.
Christina Stanford turned herself in Monday after being advised of the indictment against her. The identity theft in her case wasn’t about stealing money but was instead about getting financial information on her husband’s ex-wife, Jamie Stanford.
“I’m assuming they wanted to see patterns and ways money was being spent,” said Manchester Police Investigator Billy Butler, noting the account was actually one that was jointly held by Mr. Stanford and his ex-wife. The account was being used for their children and car payments.
Police say the current Mrs. Stanford called Ascend Federal Credit Union last year and used Jamie Stanford’s name, password, and Social Security information to change the address on the bank account in question. Then, on the same day, she had the address changed back to the original. The short-lived address change is what makes police believe she was wanting a fleeting glimpse inside the bank account to gather information about her husband’s ex-wife.
Investigator Butler noted Mr. Stanford could have probably gotten the same information legally his wife allegedly broke the law to get.
“Mr. Stanford could have taken care of this and he chose not to,” Butler noted.
Christina Sanford’s attorney, Bobby Carter, maintains everything is being blown out of proportion since it is associated with the divorce between Mr. Stanford and his ex-wife.
“Anyone who has covered divorce knows they are super-charged with emotion,” he said of the case.
Mr. Stanford was not indicted. Their law firm remains open. It is not known if the Board of Professional Responsibility, which oversees Tennessee attorneys, will take action concerning Mrs. Stanford’s law license.