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Investigators: Spokane identity thief hit victims in 15 states

Joel Denneny, 37, faces 45 criminal counts

A Spokane identity thief who allegedly victimized dozens of people nationwide put the personal information of one target for sale on Craigslist, advertising the man’s “crappy credit,” according to investigators.

Joel Denneny, 37, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Wednesday facing 45 criminal counts, most of them second-degree identity theft. Denneny obtained victims’ personal information posting bogus online job applications that requested personal information. He then used credit card and Social Security numbers to open bank accounts and order cable equipment, according to court documents.

Victims in 15 states returned questionnaires from Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives after a probe was started in August. One man claims he started receiving mail in several people’s names at his home after Denneny posted his personal information on Craigslist advertising the man’s “Crappy Credit-For Sale by Owner.”

A search of Denneny’s computer revealed he was posting job listings to major recruiting websites, posing as a technology firm’s recruitment manager. He would contact applicants after they posted a resume, according to investigators, requesting information for a background check because of the sensitive nature of the data they’d be handling.

Detectives think there are as many as 85 victims in the case, some of whom have not yet returned questionnaires. They were listed in files found on Denneny’s computer and a small black notebook found in his apartment.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.