Bad Guys Get Busted

Dallas thieves rely on old-fashioned tricks for modern-day bank fraud scheme

Dallas thieves rely on old-fashioned tricks for modern-day bank fraud

Federal authorities have charged 16 people in an elaborate bank fraud conspiracy in Dallas. The massive, 76-count indictment alleges the defendants stole more than $1.3 million through aggravated identity theft between January 2012 and August 2014.

Unlike most tales of modern identity theft, this case involved old-fashioned, in-person crimes versus digital thievery.

 Unlike most tales of modern identity theft, this case involved old-fashioned, in-person crimes versus digital thievery.

The conspiracy started with casing vehicles at parks, day cares, gyms and neighborhood pools. The gang of thieves allegedly burglarized cars to obtain bank information and checks, which were then passed onto other members of the group, who would impersonate the victims at their banks.

"Certain members of the conspiracy disguised themselves as theft victims, often through the use of wigs, and drove into the drive-thru teller lanes of the banks using rented vehicles," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a release.

To keep their own names out of the scheme, the thieves would write checks from one victim to another and use stolen drivers' licenses to cash them. The defendants further covered their tracks by swapping out the rental car license plates with stolen plates.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the theft was mostly concentrated in the Dallas area, but the conspiracy extended across the country to other states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Florida — where 14 of the defendants lived.

Those accused of bank fraud from Dallas are Christian Dominique Scott, 28, and Katherine Jones Reynolds, 51. Mallori Lee Moss, 25, had addresses in both Dallas and Port Orange, Florida.

Authorities say this latest conspiracy is related to a 2013 case in Dallas involving 11 other people, many of whom have already pleaded guilty. The punishment for conspiracy to commit bank fraud is a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

Drive thru bank teller window
The thieves impersonated victims to drive-thru bank tellers. Photo via Joselyn Martin