CSU interim supervisor charged with identity fraud

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 13, 2014 

Months after Angela Secrest became a student supervisor for Columbus State University Alumni Affairs' Phonathon, a student employee with the program told police she received an $860 bill for a credit card she never applied for.

That student is one of seven workers CSU Police believe Secrest exploited in order to create multiple fake credit cards, according to court testimony.

Secrest, 36, faced six counts of Identity Fraud during a Wednesday morning Recorder's Court hearing.

A CSU officer told the court that Secrest, who worked with a call center that fundraises for Alumni Affairs for four to five years, was appointed as an interim supervisor in January 2013 after the previous person vacated the position. Secrest was in charge of managing other student workers in the department.

Secrest is also a Public Administration graduate student, but has been placed on administrative suspension while the university conducts an investigation.

Assistant Vice President for University Relations John Lester said although Secrest had been employed with CSU for four to five years, that employment was not full time. CSU's Phonathon happens for a few weeks each semester, during which time those employees do the bulk of their work.

"She was a part-time student employee who was supervising other student employees," Lester said. "The Phonathon is a phone-calling campaign, and all universities have one, where we call alumni, friends and family to ask for donations for the University as a whole or a specific division."

Secrest listed her title with CSU as both "Interim Phonathon Supervisor" and "Interim Phonathon Supervisor" on her LinkedIn profile. She also listed her most recent occupation as a "Customer Care Advocate" at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

Between April and October, students working under Secrest began reporting that their identities had been used to authorize Capitol One credit cards. One such card was used to authorize at least one plane ticket, though the officer was unable to provide other specific transactions during the hearing.

While investigating, police began connecting Secrest to the crimes, the officer said. Several of the credit cards featured a mixture of the students' information and Secrest's, as well as some of Secrest's past addresses.

Secrest is accused of using her employees' information to apply for the cards online. The officer was unable to provide to the court the total amount police believe Secrest charged during the six-month period. Police were unable to make a charge for the seventh victim, as that student was never located.

Lester said Secrest was fired following the investigation by CSU Police.

CSU Police have reported no other known cases of student identity fraud within the university.

Secrest pled not guilty during the hearing. Judge Michael Cielinski set her bond at $15,000.

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