HOUSTON - An identity theft and wire fraud scheme targeting both the Houston and Atlanta passport agencies went on for five years, according to federal prosecutors.
While Chloe McClendon, 26, and Alicia Myles, 31, surrendered to authorities, investigators arrested 25-year-old Dominique Thomas. Thursday afternoon the trio appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy to hear the charges laid out in the federal indictment.
Prosecutors say McClendon, a contract employee who worked at the passport agency, abused her position of trust to carry out the scheme. The trio is accused of stealing personal information from the passport administration and transmitting it back and forth between one another.
According to court documents, they would recruit accomplices to assume the stolen identities who would then use the counterfeit documents to open commercial lines of credit to purchase iPads, iPhones and other electronics. Each of the three is facing one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
The conspiracy charge and each substantive count of wire fraud carries a possibly 20-year federal prison sentence as well as a possible $250,000 fine.
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