Malikah Shabazz, 45, the youngest daughter of late civil rights leaders Malcolm X, was arrested Feb. 18 at her Mars Hill, N.C., home on identify theft and grand larceny charges. In a press release posted on his website, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Shabazz defrauded 70-year-old widow Khaula Bakr, whose husband was one of her father’s bodyguards, out of more than $55,000 between August 2006 and November 2007. Brown said Shabazz stole the woman’s personal identification documents.

“The defendant is accused of stealing not only a substantial amount of money from a close family friend but her personal identity, as well,” Brown said in a statement. “The alleged theft represents a shameful betrayal of friendship that existed between the two families.”

According to Brown’s report, Bakr discovered something was awry when she received a letter from Wells Fargo claiming she owed $28,789.38 on a credit card she never knew existed. Two more credit cards were opened in her name and both accounts showed Shabazz’s former Columbia, S.C., home as the address.

Shabazz’s lawyer, Sean Devereux, said his client denies the allegations and considers Bakr to be a longtime friend.

“She’s known this woman. She shared a house with her for a while in South Carolina,” Devereux told The Associated Press. “That woman was going to be the guardian for Malikah Shabazz’s daughter.”

Shabazz and her twin sister were born several months after X’s assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York. According to a biography posted on a public speakers’ bureau she is a member of, Shabazz holds a doctorate in educational administration and human development, a master’s in mathematical science and is certified in HIV/AIDS awareness counseling.

If convicted, Shabazz faces up to seven years in prison. She was awaiting extradition to New York at AFRO press time.