Houston police bust large ID theft ring

Peggy O’Hare reports:

Police have busted a Houston-based identity theft ring that victimized 457 people and 83 businesses scattered across 25 states, investigators announced today.

The scheme worked by stealing people’s personal checks, then looking up their driver’s license numbers in an on-line database. Theft ring participants would then use fake Texas driver’s licenses featuring their pictures matched with the victims’ identifying information to buy things with counterfeit checks.

As many as 191 people were looking to get fake identities and checks, based on passport-sized photos seized from the business earlier this month, police said. Investigators are now trying to identify all 191 people in those photographs with hopes of arresting them as well, said Lt. Robert Manzo of the Houston Police Departments Financial Crimes Unit.

The accused ringleader of the operation is Robert Lee Lyles, 65, who is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a first-degree felony.

Read more in The Houston Chronicle.

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