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Sentencing wraps up in ID theft ring

Federal sentencing of a Portland man on Jan. 9 capped a nearly six-year identity theft ring investigation that involved a Warren woman who allowed her computer to be used to create false documents.

Karla Jo Strandberg of Hill Street, Warren, was indicted in U.S. District Court with the three other defendants in March 2006 on conspiracy to commit identity theft. Strandberg was additionally charged with possession of methamphetamine.

Strandberg pleaded guilty the following March to the conspiracy to commit identity theft charges, and received a sentence for three years of probation. She was living in Oregon City when the crimes occurred in 2002.

Four people were involved in the conspiracy, which involved the production of counterfeit checks using stolen identification cards and papers, and the creation of fake driver's licenses.

Sentencing in the case concluded on Wednesday, Jan. 9, when Merle Duane Hicks, 48, of Portland received a five-month sentence, allowing for time served, and was ordered to pay $6,270 in restitution.

Hicks, who also pleaded guilty, admitted in his plea agreement to creating counterfeit payroll checks and helping create identification documents for the purpose of cashing illegal checks.

Also indicted in the case were William Duane Kenney, of Portland, and Kathleen Mae Olinger, of Sandy.

This case was investigated by the Clackamas County Special Investigations Unit and the

Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant U. S. Attorney Johnathan Haub prosecuted the case.