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Wrongfully Jailed

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

It seems an identity theft ring in central Arkansas is responsible for several Little Rock men losing their freedom in the state of Louisiana.

Seven-On-Your-Side has been watching this troubling trend for over two years.

Who is responsible and how victims are targeted remains a mystery.

But it seems pretty clear to those victims that an identity theft ring is up and running in central Arkansas.

Back in 2012 we were contacted by the family of Deldrick Withers. Withers was pulled over by a state trooper the day after Easter and a check of his license showed a warrant out of Louisiana.

Withers spent nearly a month in a De Soto parish jail cell before Seven-On-Your-Side and the Arkansas Attorney General helped bring attention to the injustice of his situation.

While locked up Withers missed several important dates, including his son's birthday.

"His birthday was on Monday the 30th," Withers told us the day after he was released back in May of 2012. "So they came to see me on the Sunday the 29th. And I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. And he pointed at the glass and said 'I want you.' And to know I couldn't give that to him...it really crushed me."

A year later it was the family of Bryant Davis Jr. who called Seven-On-Your-Side for help. Davis was pulled over by police who thought he was driving a stolen vehicle. He wasn't. But soon lawmen from Louisiana were coming to get him on a felony warrant.

Davis spent seven weeks in a Morehouse parish jail cell.

"It wasn't no fun," Davis Jr. told us on the day of his release back in late October. "It wasn't no fun at all. I mean being in jail for something that you didn't do. And you're trying to explain to everyone that it isn't you."

By the time we learned about Jeremy Jackson's incarceration in Webster parish he had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was released two weeks before Christmas.

Jackson spent five months locked up.

Willy Williams also spent five months in jail before being released last month. Williams didn't get to leave Union parish until he also agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

"I had to plead guilty to the charge to get back to Little Rock," says Williams. "They was not accepting no for an answer."

Williams says someone used a fake I.D. with his information on it to cash a phony check at a Bernice Louisiana grocery store.

Williams had never been to Louisiana before.

"I'm in jail for something I didn't do plus I'm in a state I don't know," recalls Williams. "As time rolled on I used the Lord's blessing of God up above to keep me functioning in every day and everyday life."

Police have a mug shot of the man who was using Deldrick Wither's I.D. But they have yet to identify who he is or make an arrest.

The surveillance video from the Bryant Davis case helped lead to the arrest of a Little Rock woman...Hequeena Jones. Jones has many arrests on her record, including a bust for cashing fictitious checks in Beebe. Franchesca Taylor and Reginald Johnson of North Little Rock were arrested with her in that case.

The suspect who claimed to be Willy Williams signed his phony check with his right hand. Williams is left handed. The $351.97 check was written on the Spearsville high school account. That school has been closed for years.

In all four of the cases we know about, the fraudulent checks were cashed at grocery stores or liquor stores in northern Louisiana, the amounts were between $300.00 and $600.00, and the identity theft victims were from Little Rock.

While he was locked up Williams missed his birthday, his mom's birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Hopefully by this interview with Seven-On-Your-Side that I'll be able to continue with my disability which I get...course it could have knocked my disability out of place and anything like that," says Williams.

Even though he admitted to a misdemeanor in order to get out, Williams says he needs to get his name cleared in order to get his disability payments again.

The Attorney General's office can help victims of identity theft but it will likely take the State Police or Secret Service to bust up the operation.

Air date: February 13th, 2014