Outlaws indicted: Two women accused of stealing thousands from Alaska elders and Habitat for Humanity
By Suzanne Downing,
The Department of Justice on Friday unsealed a January indictment charging two Anchorage women with conspiracy, fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering for perpetrating a lengthy scheme to steal identities and defraud elderly victims and Habitat for Humanity, a charitable organization that builds houses for low-income people.
According to court documents, Valerie Calip and Jennifer Haydu defrauded banks and individuals in Alaska, obtaining at least $150,000 through their illegal scheme.
The pair stole mail, checkbooks, and identity documents from victims and used the information to create false identification documents. They signed up for credit cards and bank accounts under the victims’ names and intercepted their mail, using the fake ID to access their bank accounts. Calip and Haydu also used cash transfer apps to conceal the source of the stolen funds by transferring money to third-party accounts.
Calip and Haydu are accused of stealing more than 200 identity documents and thousands of dollars from victims, including over $100,000 from an elderly victim with dementia and thousands from a Habitat for Humanity bank account.
Calip is a repeat customer of the criminal justice system. In 2019, she was indicted by a grand jury for robbery, theft, and vehicle theft in relation to an armed robbery that occurred on Oct. 26, 2018 at Mile 71 of the Tok Cutoff Highway. Calip and her accomplice at the time, Wesley Sanford, approached a couple at their home and asked for assistance. Then, the bandits held the two victims at gunpoint and rifled through the residence, stealing firearms, cash, and other items. They tied the victims up and fled in a stolen truck.
Calip has numerous other prior charges, including forgery of legal documents. She is housed at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.
Haydu is also a known criminal. She was arrested in Ketchikan in 2017 for importing methamphetamine and heroin to Alaska from Seattle. She has court records relating to shoplifting, violating conditions of release, falsifying evidence, and other crimes. Haydu comes from the Southeast community of Craig, where she has offered services as an accounting professional. Haydu is also at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the most serious indictment counts and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating this case and has received assistance from the Anchorage Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Tansey for the District of Alaska is prosecuting the case. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this scheme and entitled to restitution may contact the United States Attorney’s Office at 907-271-3661.
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