Four North Texans face federal charges of operating a "Secret Shopper" scheme that netted the group more than $2 million from November 2009 to January 2010.
A federal grand jury in Plano returned indictments last week against Joel Wayne Dickinson, 37; Ashley Ann Ames, 34; Christina Marie Smiley, 34, all of Flower Mound; and Jami Marie Goodwin, 48, of Irving.
The four were charged with conspiracy to possess forged securities. Smiley also was indicted on a federal charge of fraud with access devices.
The group is accused of creating and operating an online fraud scheme for 14 months, according to the indictments. They're accused of mailing out counterfeit securities to residents, saying they have been chosen to participate in the shopper program and instructing them to cash the fake securities, according to a Justice Department news release.
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The residents were told to shop at designated stores with part of the cash, fill out customer surveys on the stores' performance, keep some of the money as payment for their work and to wire a certain amount back, the news release states.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of five years in a federal prison. Smiley faces an additional 10 years on the fraud charge if she's convicted.
Flower Mound police and the Secret Service investigated the case.
Trial dates for the four are pending.