By Beth Lawrence
A Jackson County woman’s shopping spree may cost her dearly, not in terms of money but in terms of her freedom.
Mallory Yvonne Littlejohn, 34, of Sylva allegedly indulged in a little retail therapy using other people’s names, debit cards and banking information, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Matt Wike.
“The charges against Mallory Littlejohn arose from a joint investigation between the Sylva Police Department and the JCSO after a report was filed with our office regarding the defendant attempting to cash checks at the State Employees’ Credit Union banks in Sylva and Cullowhee,” Wike said.
Littlejohn was arrested for one count each of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods/property, two felony counts of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, eight felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense, eight felony counts of identity theft, 20 felony counts forgery of endorsement, 20 felony counts of uttering forged endorsement and three counts of failure to appear on two felonies and one misdemeanor.
Littlejohn allegedly used the identities and credit information of two others to finance her spending spree. The crime/shopping spree occurred over a period of two weeks from April 26 to May 7.
Using the debit card of Mikeala Hopkins, Littlejohn and another person dined out at South of Philly and Sonic to the tune of $74 and spent $281 on shoes at Shoe Show, according to arrest warrants.
Littlejohn was also able to lease $5,375.93 in merchandise at Aaron’s Rent to Own by using Russell McConnell’s name and credit information, Sylva Police Chief Chris Hatton said.
Littlejohn purchased a Nintendo Switch game console and game bundle, a PlayStation 4 game console, a Samsung tablet, a 65-inch smart TV, a JBL Bluetooth boombox, a six-piece DEWALT tool combo kit and a YETI cooler by forging McConnell’s name, according to arrest warrants.
McConnell was not aware of the purchases until Aaron’s reached out to him.
“He was notified by Aaron’s when there was no payment made,” Hatton said.
Aaron’s was unable to recover any of the items Littlejohn leased.
The forgery and uttering charges stem in part from Littlejohn signing her victim’s name to various lease agreements, delivery receipts and assorted other lease-related documents at the rental company.
Authorities do not know if Littlejohn was acquainted with her victims.
Hatton does not expect additional charges in relation to these incidents.
Forgery of endorsement, or signature, on documents for the purposes of fraud is a Class I felony, according to North Carolina General statute 14-120. It is punishable by a prison sentence of three to 12 months. Uttering a forged endorsement is also a Class I felony carrying the same punishment. In most cases, identity theft is a Class G felony punishable by eight to 31 months in prison. Obtaining property by false pretense is a Class H felony if the value is less than $100,000 and is punishable by a four to 25-month prison sentence.
There are a few steps people can take to protect themselves against this type of fraud.
“Obtain credit reports regularly, sign up for some type of protection, LifeLock or Experian,” Hatton said. “Also make sure to keep track of all financial cards and records.”
Littlejohn is being held in Jackson County Detention Center under a $1.6 million bond.
She has previously served probation and a short prison sentence for similar crimes allegedly committed between 2013 to 2018 including obtaining property by false pretense, possession of stolen goods, larceny, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and worthless checks.