A woman arrested for felony grand-theft and felony credit card fraud in Benewah County is scheduled for arraignment Jan. 15, 2021.
Tiana Madonna Heim, 38, is accused of stealing a credit card issued by the Forest Service that was issued to her boyfriend, Robert Franklin Lambert, a former Forest Service employee.
According to court documents, Heim was caught after making purchases at multiple gas stations in which she used a unique pin number assigned to Lambert prior to his termination five months earlier.
Heim and her vehicle were also identified by gas station surveillance footage.
Court documents also show that the card was used by other Forest Service employees with different pins after Lambert’s termination. However, usage records show that fraudulent charges first appeared Jan. 29, 2019, approximately 1-month after a break-in was reported at the St. Joe Ranger District fleet yard in St. Maries.
The charges were red flagged due to the card being used during a federal government lapse in funding that occurred Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 29, 2019.
Transactions using the pin assigned to Lambert totaled $349.33 over a 15-day period in Idaho and Montana.
Lambert denied having any knowledge of the cards use as he was arrested by the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office on drug charges, Dec. 29, 2018.
Heim originally told investigators that she had found the card in her boyfriend’s belongings when they were moving and said she did not know it was okay to use the card.
Investigators note that the card is embossed with the name USDA FOREST SERVICE and the face of the card reads: FOR OFFICIAL GOVERNMETN FLEET USE ONLY.
Asked about how she was able to use the card, Heim claimed to have entered four random numbers for the pin. The card required an assigned six-digit pin according to court documents.
“When Heim was advised she used the same unique pin number every transaction, Heim advised she thought she might need a lawyer,” the investigator reported.
The odds of guessing a 4-digit series is 1 in 10,000. The odds of guessing a 6-digit series is 1 in 1,000,000.
Heim admitted to using the card for five transactions.
According to Idaho code, penalties for felony grand-theft, other than extortion, range from 1 to 14 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.