ID Thief Says Mother’s Death Led her To Crime

May 11, 2009

The Montana woman who stole the identity of a missing South Carolina woman to attend an Ivy League school says she became a criminal after her mother’s death.

In transcripts released last week by CBS News’ “48 Hours Mystery,” Esther Reed says she took on the identities of others to start over. The 31-year-old Reed says she would change identities as the real people closed in on her scheme.

Reed pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced in February to more than four years in federal prison for stealing multiple identities and faking documents to gain entry to three colleges.

She attended Columbia University under the name of a missing Greenville teenager, but authorities don’t think she had anything to do with Brooke Henson’s 1999 disappearance.

Reed is serving her sentence in West Virginia.

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