FORT LAUDERDALE —
A Tamarac woman told a judge she stole someone's identity and spent nearly $20,000 in ill-gotten funds, largely because she needed to replace defective breast implants and furnish her condo.
Shatarka Nuby, 29, offered that explanation to U.S. District Judge William Zloch on Thursday as she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to use unauthorized devices, or credit cards, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Nuby faces up to seven years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 16.
"I feel bad for doing this," Nuby said. "I felt if it was someone in my family [victimized by identity theft], I would be upset."
Wearing an olive-green jumpsuit and shackles on her wrists and ankles, Nuby said she needed money to replace breast implants that gave her breathing problems, and to furnish the condo she recently moved into. She said she had been addicted to Ecstasy and suffered from depression.
Nuby was arrested in May after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated a mail theft that had enabled Nuby to get her victim's personal information.
The victim's college application, containing many personal details, was placed in a mailbox outside the Tamarac post office, but it never arrived at the school. The victim discovered five credit cards had been opened in her name and $19,550 in charges racked up, federal court records show.
The victim learned one of the cards was used at Pinnella Cosmetic Surgery in Fort Lauderdale.
U.S. Postal Inspector Brian McCarthy went to the plastic surgery center and discovered the charges were for Nuby replacing her existing breast implants with larger ones and for liposuction on her arms, court documents show.
Nuby told office staff that her cousin was paying for the procedures. The woman identified as her cousin had a driver's license in the name of the identity theft victim, court records show.
The accomplice took the fraudulent credit card out of the original mailing envelope, pulled the card off a piece of paper and gave it to office staff, McCarthy wrote.
The case against Nuby's alleged accomplice, April Tukela Brown, is pending, officials said.
On Thursday Nuby said she wasn't the one who stole the victim's mail, but that she paid another friend about $1,000 for the victim's information.
McCarthy said an investigation into the alleged accomplice's actions is under way.
Nuby intially faced an additional five counts of conspiracy to use unauthorized devices, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement, officials said.