Woman charged with stealing Gwinnettians' mail, identities

LAWRENCEVILLE - When a Forsyth County resident failed to receive a credit card she applied for nearly a year ago, she told police she didn't think much of it because nothing had been charged to the card.

It wasn't until Gwinnett County police found that credit card in a vehicle that had been stopped at Peachtree Industrial and Nelson Brogdon boulevards in Buford that the Forsyth County woman knew the card had been stolen, officials said.

During that Dec. 23 traffic stop, police arrested Holly Michelle Hodge, 30, on drug possession charges, Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Darren Moloney said.

Superior Court records indicate Hodge, a Gainesville resident, was traveling with a man who was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.

In the vehicle, police found "several pieces of evidence that caused suspicion and ultimately linked (Hodge) to the other crimes," Moloney said. "That evidence included several different blank checks, several different credit cards, etc."

It took police four to six months to complete an investigation into Hodge's activities, Moloney said. Police suspect Hodge drove up to mailboxes in Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall counties and stole mail that contained personal information; she is accused of piecing together identities using information stolen from several different people, Moloney said.

Now that the Gwinnett Police Department has wrapped up its investigation, District Attorney Danny Porter said his office is investigating the fraud and forgery charges.

Hodge was indicted in April on the drug possession charges, Porter said.

She is being held in the Gwinnett County Detention Center in lieu of a $19,300 bond on charges of drug possession, financial identity fraud, forgery and credit card theft charges, but she also faces charges from Forsyth and Hall counties.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is also looking into the case, which could lead to federal charges, Moloney said.

Hodge was indicted in April on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana, Porter said. The District Attorney's Office is investigating the fraud and forgery charges.

In Forsyth County, Hodge faces a misdemeanor theft by taking charge in the credit card theft, said Karleen Chalker, a spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department.