TX: Seven Metroplex Residents Charged In ID Theft Conspiracy
A total of seven metroplex residents have been charged in a 13-count superseding indictment, with various offenses related to an identity theft scheme they ran from October 2009 to July 2013, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
In addition to each being charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, the defendants are also each charged with the following:
Anthony Minor, 25, of Cedar Hill, is also charged with six counts of bank fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents; one count of using or trafficking in unauthorized access device; and two counts of aggravated identification theft.
Tilisha Morrison, 24, of Dallas, is also charged with three counts of bank fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents; and one count of producing, using, trafficking in a counterfeit access device.
Katrina Thomas, 40, of Garland, who worked as an Underwriting Support Specialist for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), is also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents and one count of producing, using and trafficking in a counterfeit access device.
Kario Butler, 28, of Mansfield; Karen Mendoza, 43, of Dallas and Wichita Falls; Cyrus Pritchett, 24, of Dallas; and Jamilah Karriem, 20, of Dallas and Desoto, are also each charged with one count of bank fraud.
Minor and Morrison were originally charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in October 2013. Minor remains in federal custody.
According to the indictment, the defendants stole personal identifying information for true Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase account holders (the victim-customers) and used this information to fraudulently access funds contained in their bank accounts. They also created false identities using the stolen personal identifying information.
Thomas, through her employment at Fannie Mae and her access to customer files, stole the personal identifying information of approximately 1,100 Fannie Mae customers and sold or provided the information to Minor or Morrison, knowing it was illegal and knowing that the information would be used to commit bank fraud.
Minor and Morrison recruited co-conspirators (“runners”), including Butler, Mendoza, Pritchett and Karriem, who would either use their own existing bank account, or would allow their identities to be used, to create new bank accounts to further the scheme. They would either directly access the victim-customer’s account or open a joint account in the names of the runner and the victim-customer, without the victim-customer’s knowledge or consent. Minor and Morrison would also use the banks’ telephone and online banking systems to transfer funds from the compromised victim-customer’s account into an account controlled by one of the co-conspirators. They would then direct the runner to withdraw the money and Minor often drove the runner to the bank or automated teller machine to perform the transaction.
According to the indictment, the defendants used the funds or stolen information to rent hotel rooms and purchase luxury goods. In fact, in July 2013, when Minor was arrested in his room at a luxury hotel in Dallas, which he had rented using another’s identification, he was in possession of several false identities and counterfeit checks as well as a computer containing a template for Texas Department of Public Safety Temporary Driver’s License and counterfeit checks.
In late June 2013, unidentified co-conspirators burglarized a furniture store in Farmers Branch, Texas, and stole a safe containing a passport, social security card and birth certificate of a particular individual. On July 1, 2013, Morrison used that identification to rent an apartment in Mesquite.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until or unless proven guilty. However, upon conviction, the conspiracy to commit bank fraud count, as well as each of the bank fraud counts, carry a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million. The conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The producing, using or trafficking in a counterfeit access device counts each carry a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the identity theft count is a mandatory term of two years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other term or imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney P. J. Meitl and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher G. Poor are prosecuting.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas