MCSO: 10 arrested in Uncle Sam's ID theft investigation

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Ten people were arrested after the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office conducted a workplace ID theft operation at Uncle Sam's restaurant locations in the Valley on Wednesday.

The suspects were arrested on felony charges related to identity theft and forgery. Nine of the suspects have had ICE holds placed on them. One of the suspects was charged with auto theft after an outstanding warrant was discovered.

Sheriff's deputies and posse volunteers executed three search warrants Wednesday afternoon following a nine-month investigation. They were attempting to locate 70 suspects currently employed at two restaurant locations, 18913 N. 83rd Ave. in Peoria and 3217 E. Shea Blvd. in north Phoenix.

Sheriff's detectives also searched the owner's Scottsdale home office.

Detectives suspect as many as 121 people hired to work for Uncle Sam's since October gained employment by using falsified documents and stolen IDs.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the investigation began in October after his office received a tip from a caller. Detectives found discrepancies including multiple names, addresses, no existing records and/or names not matching the Social Security numbers provided.

"Identity theft is a serious felony that creates untold damage to its victims," Arpaio said. "By enforcing state law, my deputies are helping to curb the abuses that resolve around this increasing source of crime that affects thousands, if not millions, of Americans."

This was the 73rd workplace ID theft operation conducted by sheriff's detectives.