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Facebook selfie helps police identify fraud suspect

A social media photo trail has authorities in Georgia looking for a Raleigh woman in connection with a fraud case.
A social media photo has authorities in Georgia looking for a Raleigh woman in connection with a fraud case.

Police say the operation involved a fake company, impersonating the victim, a theft of more than $100,000, and it could all come to an end with a simple selfie photo posted online.

Investigators in Atlanta say they found selfies on Facebook showing a woman posing in a leopard print dress and a close-up of her wearing sunglasses and bright lipstick. Then, they compared those photos with surveillance images from several banks of a woman named Tanya Peel.

They say they believe Peel is one of several people they saw in various surveillance videos walking into banks and walking out with money withdrawals totaling $175,000. Authorities say the alleged scam started with a fake business.

"Tanya Peel went to a Chase bank here in Atlanta and set up a fake business account in her name," said Detective Ken Stapler with the Atlanta Police Department.

Stapler said he believes Peel - or someone she knows - then went after a target, draining the victim's Charles Schwab account of $175,000. He said $123,000 of that ended up in that account set up by Peel. That account that is now leading authorities from Georgia to Raleigh.

"She used her real North Carolina identification to set up the bank account," said Stapler.

The police report shows Peel's last known address in Raleigh is an apartment in Marchester on Millbrook on Beaver Lake Court. ABC11 knocked on the door, but there was no answer. We spoke to several people living nearby and no one recognized Peel's name or description.

We found her again on Facebook and saw she used to attend Shaw University, but when we logged back in just an hour later, we found the page and those tell-tale selfies were gone.

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