News

Woman pleads guilty to ID theft

The former wife of an Oak Harbor city councilman will likely have to spend months in jail.

Elizabeth Ruth, formerly Elizabeth Gerber, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Monday to first-degree identity theft as part of a plea bargain. A charge of forgery was dropped as part of the deal.

At the sentencing hearing Oct. 18, Ruth faces from six months to a year in jail under the standard sentencing range.

Under the plea bargain, Chief Criminal Prosecutor Andrea Vingo said she will recommend a six-month sentence. She said she took into account the fact that Ruth has a high-risk pregnancy and other health issues.

In addition, Vingo said it’s likely that Ruth won’t have to serve the time until after she has her baby. She said it would be difficult and expensive for the jail to deal with a pregnancy, let alone a high-risk one.

This wasn’t the first time Ruth got into trouble for stealing someone’s identity. In another case, Ruth pleaded guilty to first-degree identity theft in the same court about four years ago. Her arrest led to her ex-husband, Councilman Eric Gerber, pulling out of a run for mayor a couple of weeks before the primary.

In the current case, Ruth opened two accounts at Navy Federal Credit Union with different Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, according to a report by Oak Harbor Police Detective Carl Seim. She deposited three fraudulent checks resulting in a loss of $2,420 to the bank, Seim wrote.

The report states that the checks were computer generated using blank check forms which can be bought at any office supply store.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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