Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A Troup man described by authorities as a major identity thief was sentenced to to 25 years in prison Monday in connection with charges of tampering with a government document and fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, reports show.
Michael Shane Haskins, 43, was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bridget Bateman. Judge Mark Calhoon of the 3rd Judicial District Court sentenced Haskins after the defendant pleaded guilty to the offenses, according to a release from the Henderson County District Attorney's office.
Authorities credited the Gun Barrel City Police Department with locating and confiscating all financial and identifying information of Haskins' victims so it could be returned.
"Identity theft crimes are extremely harmful to the victims, and the arrest and prosecution of the criminals who perpetrate these crimes is a top priority for my office,'' said District Attorney Scott McKee.
Haskins was indicted by a Henderson County grand jury after Gun Barrel City police officer Jesse Ison performed a traffic stop on Haskins' vehicle in September 2011. The officer obtained consent to search Haskins' vehicle and located several Texas Department of Public Safety ID cards that had been tampered with to include a photograph of Haskins and other individuals' names and information — including birth dates and addresses.
Officer Ison also located more than 50 blank checks containing different bank account information for numerous individuals. These individuals were found to be living in Cherokee County where their checks and identifying information had been originally stolen, reports show.