2 men jailed after deputies bust counterfeit ID operation with multiple Houston-area victims

HOUSTON – Two men are in jail after months of an alleged counterfeit ID operation that Harris County Precinct 5 Deputy Constables busted in late September.

According to documents, those involved in the operation attempted wire transfers for tens of thousands of dollars and rented a truck in the name of someone’s identity they stole, among other allegations.

Daniel McIver, 29, and 26-year-old Eric Berry were arrested at a north Houston hotel. Both are charged with felony identity theft and possession of a controlled substance. McIver also faces a charge of tampering with a government record, according to the Constable’s Office.

Jail records show both are still behind bars.

During the bust, deputies seized boxes of stolen mail, computers, and equipment used to make fake IDs and credit cards, and dozens of both items.

“You start stressing and think, ‘Did I click on an email? Did I click on a text? What did I do wrong?,’” a victim who asked KPRC 2 not to use her name said.

She works as an accountant and said the suspects hacked her online software, gained access to several of her client’s accounts, and tried to use the payroll feature to send money to accounts they had created.

The hack came after months of monitoring money being moved from her clients’ accounts. She believes they were able to access her information after they hacked one client’s email account.

“It was just a web of anybody who was … associated with somebody, they’d try to go after,” she said. “They’re going after families and businesses and associates, not just random people.”

Another victim of the operation, who has no connection to Texas, stopped in the Houston area for gas during a move from Colorado to Florida. He believes they may have stolen his information from a card skimmer.

“They were opening up credit cards and maxing them out,” Haiden Brady said, which tanked his credit about 150 points within a month. “They started changing passwords and credentials and addresses and stuff on these accounts.”

To protect yourself, the FBI recommends:

  • Strong and unique passcodes for each online account
  • Change passwords regularly
  • Don’t open any unexpected attachments
  • Never click on unsolicited texts or emails that ask for updates or verification to account information

Read the full list of the FBI’s tips.

“Going through this, I realized how easy it is to actually get this information,” Brady said. “Violating, knowing that someone else out there has all of this information, social security, name, address, date of birth.”

After months of trying to get everything back in order, both victims hope others will take the issue seriously.

“Nobody is safe. Everybody needs to protect themselves,” the accountant said.

The recovered mail has been turned over to the U.S. Postal Inspector to be returned to the rightful owners, deputies said.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is expected to share more information about the investigation later this week.

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