NC woman charged in ‘elaborate scam’ using Waltrip’s name

Published 10:21 am Friday, November 14, 2014

Jaime Graves was arrested on an indictment charging her with six counts of identity theft and two counts of criminal simulation.

Jaime Graves was arrested on an indictment charging her with six counts of identity theft and two counts of criminal simulation.

A North Carolina woman on the run for five years faces multiple felony charges in connection with what police are calling “an elaborate scam” after the woman allegedly stole the identity of a famous stock car racer to victimize a local community service organization.
Jaime Renee Graves, 37, of Mount Ulla, N.C., was arrested Tuesday by officers of the Elizabethton Police Department on an indictment charging her with six counts of identity theft and two counts of criminal simulation.
The indictment against Graves was issued in July 2009, according to Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Joy Shoun, but Graves had left the Tri-Cities before she could be apprehended.
The investigation into the scam began in 2009 when Angie Odom, director of Abortion Alternatives & Women’s Center, contacted police about the scam, Shoun said. Odom told police in April of that year that Graves offered assistance to the Women’s Center in planning events and a fundraiser.
“During the next few months, plans were enacted and advertisements made for specific events which Graves was alleged to have been arranging,” Shoun said.
As part of the planning, Odom told police she had received correspondence from individuals and representatives of organizations and companies that Graves had told her were committed to the events she was planning. The indictment against Graves alleges she stole the identity of former NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip and sent Odom an email message that claimed to be from an executive with Kimberly-Clark Corp.
“Through the investigation, it was learned that the correspondence received by Mrs. Odom was not from any subjects affiliated with the specified companies,” Shoun said. “The investigation produced information and statements which indicated that Graves was responsible for the fraudulent correspondence. “
The indictment against Graves alleges she committed the offense of identity theft “by knowingly using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of Darrell Waltrip with the intent to commit, or otherwise promote, carry on, or facilitate any unlawful activity.” All six counts of identity theft list Waltrip as the person whose identity was stolen.
According to the indictment, the two counts of criminal simulation involve emails that appeared to be from Kimberly Edwards on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Graves was arrested Oct. 28 in Miami, Shoun said, adding that Graves waived extradition and was transported to the Carter County Detention Center, where she was booked Tuesday.
On Thursday, Odom said she was pleased to hear Graves had been arrested in connection with the case.
“I’m so relieved that she has finally been caught,” Odom said. “I hope no one else ever falls victim to something like this.”
The scam began in early 2009, Odom said, when she met Graves, who was using the name Jaime Giardina at that time.
“She told us she was setting up a free event for our center to serve underprivileged children in our community by giving them a fun-filled day including a visit by NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip and other race car drivers,” Odom said. “I’d already been making preparations for these events and donations. I’d been telling people about all these good things that were happening for us.”
“It broke my heart to learn it was all just a lie,” she added “Not only did it break my heart for our center but for the children that these events were supposed to help.”
Odom said the scam was elaborate and included several different people and companies.
“I got emails that looked like they came from Darrell Waltrip and from companies like Kimberly-Clark about the event and other donations Jaime said she was getting for the Center. It turned out they were all fake,” Odom said. “She even took me to the chief of police to work out security for the event.”
Graves is scheduled to make her initial appearance in Carter County Criminal Court Dec. 1. She is being held in the Carter County Detention Center on a $36,000 bond.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox