A Scotland Neck woman is facing charges after police say she used someone else’s bank account to pay close to $20,000 in bills.

Det. Sgt. Joe Sealey, of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, said Ebony Bryant, 30, of Scotland Neck, was arrested Friday afternoon after an investigation Sealey conducted into allegations of identity theft.

“(Bryant) had allegedly been using bank account information of the victim since January 2010 to pay for a variety of different bills totalling close to $20,000,” Sealey said.

Bryant, Sealey said, was paying eight different bills continuously using the victim’s bank account information, and had been doing so since Jan. 2010. The victim, Sealey said, hadn’t noticed the missing money until August of this year.

Sealey said once the investigation started, he was surprised to see how long the thefts had been taking place, the victim was surprised by how much money had been taken.

The investigation has led to eight counts of identity theft charges against Bryant, as well as eight counts of obtaining property by false pretense. She is free under a $30,000 bond and is due in court Jan. 23.

Sealey said cases like this illustrate how little people actually monitor their finances.

“This case is classic as far as people checking their bank accounts,” Sealey said. “Most people don’t keep an accurate account of their finances, which is surprising in light of the economy.”

Sealey warned to keep personal information private, because, he learned in this investigation, someone with the right information can set up bank drafts to pay bills with your account.

“You’d be surprised how many people we let into our lives who know that information and can set up accounts in your name,” Sealey said. “You can combat that by getting with your bank to make sure security is in place to prevent this sort of thing, and by keeping an accurate account of what your holdings are.”

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