Police conclude that entrepreneur used fake ID to withdraw money; Is the ID photo the same woman? But why would she steal money from her own account?
By Marques Travae
The situation involving entrepreneur Lorenna Vieira that I originally reported on a few days ago has taken some very strange, confusing twists. Vieira, who is also the wife of popular Rio DJ Rennan de Penha, made headlines when representatives at a branch of the Itaú bank called the police after her documents provoked a red flag when she attempted to make a withdrawal equal to about US$350. The case provoked outrage and accusations of racism against the bank.
Initially, Vieira was released after her ID was analyzed, but afterward, police chief of the 22nd district in the district of Penha, Fabricio Oliveira Pereira, changed the police version of the incident, saying that the document Lorena presented was in fact false and while he maintained that the accusation of racism by Lorenna would proceed to investigation, suspicion about her identity card was the reason for calling in the police.
“After the result of expert reports from the Carlos Éboli Institute of Criminalistics (ICCE) and the Félix Pacheco Identification Institute (IIFP), it was possible to verify that the document was false and that the fingerprint found on the card doesn’t belong to the young woman,” said Oliveira in a statement.
He also said that Detran confirmed “that the identity card was not officially issued by the agency and the photograph in the questioned document does not correspond to the one in the official databases”. Detran, Departamentos Estaduais de Trânsito, or State Departments of Transit, is the agency found in Brazilian states that are responsible for determining rules for driver training and inspection, assessing the physical, mental and psychological capacity of candidates for driver’s licenses as well as issuing identification cards and documents.
Informed of what the police had concluded, Lorena vehemently denied that she had used a fake document. “I was released from the police station shortly after verifying that my document, issued by Detran, was not false. I was even instructed by the policemen who accompanied me to tear this document up and issue a new one with my natural hair so as not to have this kind of problem anymore,” she countered.
Via her social network profile, she also spoke out about the subject.
“My God, I can’t take it, I can’t take it. How?????? Explain to me how??????? Prove it???? How am I going to rob myself? Defraud myself? ALL DATA IS MINE, MY GOD,” she wrote on Twitter.
My God, I can’t take it, I can’t take it
How?????? Explain to me how??????? Prove it???? How am I going to rob myself? Defraud myself? ALL DATA IS MINE, MY GOD https://t.co/B5Uwkk2vvP
– Lorena (@badgallore) January 31, 2020
Police chief says Lorena Vieira can be indicted for using false document
I have to admit this all sounds very strange. If someone has the intention of trying to steal some money, why would they steal money from their own bank account? Theft usually involves people attempting to take money from other people. But then what’s the deal with the photo? Lorenna believes the controversy emerged because, in the ID photo, her hair is straightened, while nowadays she wears her hair with its natural curls. The photos do look different, but is it possible that the photo is indeed the same person?
The police chief said this last weekend that, based on police findings, there is already sufficient evidence for Vieira, 21, to respond for the crime of counterfeiting a document. If convicted, the crime carries a penalty of two to six years in prison as well as a fine. Meanwhile the indictment will only be decided when the investigations have concluded, probably a period of 30 day.
After analysis from experts of the Félix Pacheco Institute and Detran revealed that the identity document Vieira used was false, the police are also investigating the possibility of charging her with larceny for “obtaining, for oneself or others, an illicit advantage, to the detriment of others, inducing or keeping someone in error, by means of trickery, deceit, or any other fraudulent means”.
At the same time, the 22nd police precinct is also looking into Lorena’s complaint of racism. In her view, bank employees were suspicious of her because she is black. In response, the bank issued a statement saying the actions taken were ‘standard procedure‘ in cases of suspected fraud. Another angle here is that banks in Brazil are notorious for racista actions against its black clients (see here, here, and here
According to the head of police, Vieira could have actually been arrested in the act last Friday, when she was appeared at the police station to file a complaint of racism, which is a crime in Brazil. But the analysis of the agencies investigating her ID was only available at the end of the day. According to Oliveira, Detran informed police that it hadn’t issued the document that Vieira presented at the bank and that the photo on ID card didn’t even exist in its system. In addition, the police chief revealed that the number of the Detran branch appearing on the ID card at the bank doesn’t exist.
“Thirdly, the Félix Pacheco Institute said that the fingerprints that appears on the identity (card) doesn’t belong to her,” Oliveira added.
To make the case even more confusing, Oliveira pointed out that the actual data contained in the document were true and because of this she was released from the police station less than 15 minutes her arrival.
Presented with the agency’s findings, Lorena Vieira didn’t want to discuss the issue and her lawyer also offered no commentary on the results of the investigation. Oliveira also couldn’t explain why Vieira would attempt to use a false ID.
“The information on the identity card was correct, so much so that she was released,” he said. “The fact took a very large proportion. We don’t intend to complete the investigation in one day. We will also continue to investigate her report of racism. We are treating the case with all the necessary caution to really clarify everything that happened. We will listen to bank employees, police officers, act with the utmost care so that there is a rigorous investigation into the accusations.”
Revolt in social networks
Almost immediately after taking knowledge of the case, the hashtag #ItaúRacista became one of the most commented subjects on Twitter. Several people posted criticisms of the Itaú employees’ attitudes for keeping Vieira in the bank until it closed and then, only when three civil police officers appeared on the scene to take her to the 22nd precinct.
“They picked me up at the bank. I didn’t understand the delay. They took me out, said that it wasn’t me in the ID, that the money that was coming in wasn’t normal. Besides the shame, they kept asking questions… Why can’t I have money? Why can’t I make money on cosmetics? I can’t have money because I’m the wife of a former inmate?”, said Lorena.
In a statement, Itaú Unibanco expressed sympathy about the incident involving the businesswoman and apologized for the inconvenience the incident caused.
“Itaú Unibanco maintains the position already disclosed since this case was made public: the verification of documents is mandatory when the customer doesn’t have the bank card in hand or does not use biometrics to make withdrawals. The objective is to guarantee the safety of the customers themselves, and has no relation to race or gender issues. The bank also reinforces that, despite the Civil Police having declared that the document presented by Lorenna Vieira is false, it had already apologized to her for the inconvenience that the approach may have caused. Itaú Unibanco remains available for clarification.” concluded the note.
Lorena countered the bank’s response explaining the absurdity of the case.
“Standard procedure? To say that it is solving my problem, to make me wait until after the bank closes. Not informing me of what was happening, lying to arrest me there, not letting me leave and calling the CIVIL POLICE ???????”, she wrote via social media.
“Is this standard procedure? Couldn’t it be any other way? In a more humane way???? Tell me what you were thinking about me????? The solution was simply to call the civil police to be removed from there like a criminal, humiliated??????? Oh no, now I’m really pissed!”
All I can say here is that I can’t wait to see what happens here because something just ain’t adding up. On the one hand, why would Lorenna knowingly use a document that she knows is false? She’s relatively famous, is a successful business woman, married to one of the country’s most popular DJs and has everything going for her. Not only could such an incident dirty her name but it could also land her jail.
In her defense, I can actually see how the photos can be same person. Depending on the use of makeup, the angle a photo is taken and the angle is which someone positions their face, the same person can take very different appearances. And further, as she asked, why would she go to a bank to try steal money from herself? I don’t get it. Are the bank, police and agency colluding to save face against a bank teller mistake? That seems rather far-fetched, but until more details come out, it’s tough to know what really happened here.