Authorities have broken an identification theft ring that took almost $2 million using information from 8,000 sailors and reservists at two Texas military bases, police said Thursday.
The ring included a former U.S. Navy petty officer who had access to direct deposits at the Fort Worth Reserve Joint Reserve Base, police said.
Cora Dixon , 33, who was kicked out of the Navy last year, is accused of engaging in organized criminal activity. Her boyfriend, Seneca Willis, 26, also faces the same charge.
The two were arrested and later released on bail last year. They were formerly of Euless, but they live in DeSoto, according to Tarrant County criminal court records..
Dixon is accused of taking banking and personal information from the sailors and reservists to make fraudulent checks and identification cards. The information was taken from the Fort Worth base and a San Antonio base, authorities said.
Authorities believe Willis then contacted a Bank of America teller to find out how much money was available in the accounts. Angel R. Mitchell, 22, of Dallas, a former Bank of America teller, is accused of providing that information at $100 per account.
Willis is accused of then going to homeless shelters in Dallas and getting several of those residents to cash the fraudulent checks.
As Willis went about searching for homeless residents, Zachariah Long, 29, of Irving, is accused of making the fraudulent checks for the homeless residents to cash, police said.
In all, police estimated that the 72 shelter residents were used to cash the fraudulent checks.
Police believe members of the theft ring spent the money on luxury cars, trips and at Dallas strip clubs. At the time of their arrests last year, authorities seized eight cars, two motorcycles and a truck.
“They didn’t have much money left when they were arrested,” Euless police Detective Brian Brennan said Thursday. “They just blew it all.”
An investigation began in January 2007 after one of the members of the theft ring was arrested in Irving and fraudulent checks were found in a vehicle.
Euless police along with the U.S. Secret Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case.