Actress Taraji P Henson who previously spoke candidly about mental health issues affecting the African American community and even opened a foundation, found herself victimized by a mother of six diagnosed as bi-polar who allegedly stole her identity.
On Saturday, the accused woman, 29-year-old Alicia Newby was arrested in Chicago and charged with criminal activity for making fraudulent charges in other people’s names.
On Sunday, Newby appeared in court to answer charges that she stole Henson’s financial information as well as multiple people she preyed on and opened accounts and skimmed money, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Henson’s manager discovered that last year that she accumulated $4,000 in charges under an unfamiliar name and address that was not linked to the Empire actress. Henson’s other accounts were misused too by Newby and she accessed Henson’s email account. Ultimately the $4,000 in fraudulent purchases were cancelled, but Newby fled to another location with her kids when officers pursued her to make an arrest in December.
In other cases, Newby racked up in excess of $12,000 in charges on other people’s accounts either, with JP Morgan Chase, American Express and PayPal, the outlet reports.
Newby also reportedly assumed someone else’s identity and has utilities in another person’s name as well as having rented an apartment under a stolen name.
Henson announces mental health conference
This situation is reason why Henson is so adamant about getting mental health resources to the people who need them.
The summit was organized by Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, set up to erase the stigma around mental health problems. The nonprofit organization is named for Henson’s father, who suffered mental health challenges as a result of serving in the Vietnam War, according to the group’s website.
“Mental health is a huge issue in the Black community,” Henson, 48, previously told PEOPLE. “We are working to normalize the conversation in our communities at a younger age to eradicate the stigma. We have to start somewhere — and I believe openly talking about it is a good place to start.”