Four Plead Guilty to $400,000 Stolen Vehicles, ID Theft, Fraud Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that four defendants pleaded guilty in federal court this week for their roles in a nearly $400,000 conspiracy to use identity documents, checks and credit cards that were either found in stolen vehicles or pilfered from vehicles to make fraudulent purchases and to obtain methamphetamine.
Roberta Anne Welte, 27, of Blue Springs, Mo., and Brandi Nicole Neely, 31, of Arnold, Mo., pleaded guilty in separate appearances today before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple. Melinda R. Kermer, 28, of Raytown, Mo., and Christopher Lee Curd, 29, of Kansas City, Mo., each pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013.
Welte and Neely each pleaded guilty today to participating in the conspiracy to illegally transport stolen vehicles across state lines from Oct. 19, 2007, to Jan. 10, 2008, and possessing and distributing methamphetamine to further the conspiracy. The purpose of the conspiracy was to steal checks, credit cards, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and the accompanying personal identifying information in order to make fraudulent purchases at various retail stores in the Kansas City metropolitan area and to obtain methamphetamine. The total loss resulting from their participation in the conspiracy was $398,168.
On Christmas Day in 2007, Welte admitted, she worked on behalf of a co-conspirator to package stolen credit cards, checks and a Social Security card belonging to one victim, stacks of KU tickets belonging to another victim, and other stacks of checks. On the same day, she used a stolen credit card belonging to one of the victims at a Quick Trip and she possessed a stolen 2005 Acura MDX SUV belonging to two additional victims. Welte admitted that she possessed a stolen Jeep Cherokee on Oct. 25, 2007, and that she transported a stolen Navigator from Kansas to Missouri on Dec. 20, 2007. Welte also admitted that she participated in pilfering several vehicles on Dec. 20, 2007, including vehicles that belonged to four victims in Shawnee, Kan.
Neely admitted that in December 2007 and January 2008 she repeatedly used stolen credit cards to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise and fuel. On Jan. 5, 2008, she and a co-conspirator burglarized a vehicle in a garage in Blue Springs, pilfered two other vehicles in Blue Springs, and operated and possessed a stolen Dodge Intrepid belonging to a Blue Springs resident. Neely was in possession of numerous driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and other items primarily taken from additional victims whose vehicles were pilfered or stolen. Neely was also in possession of several pieces of mail that had been stolen from the mailboxes of nine Blue Springs residents in January 2008.
Kermer admitted that she stole two vehicles in November 2007 and used a credit card belonging to one of the victims to make purchases at a Wal-Mart store in Liberty, Mo. Kermer also admitted that she possessed a stolen Cadillac belonging to another victim in Sugar Creek, Mo., as well as numerous driver’s licenses, credit cards, checks, casino cards and other items that had been pilfered from various vehicles and mail that had been stolen from a Sugar Creek victim. On Dec. 25, 2007, Kermer traded 1.75 grams of methamphetamine to a coconspirator for a gold VISA credit card.
Curd admitted that he deposited $875 into his personal bank account from stolen checks that had been pilfered from a vehicle in Independence, Mo. He also admitted that he deposited a $474 stolen personal check into his bank account from an Overland Park, Kan., victim whose vehicle had been stolen. Curd deposited a $250 personal check into his bank account that was taken from the vehicle of a Lenexa, Kan., victim. He also possessed another checkbook that had been stolen from an additional victim’s vehicle in Independence, and numerous credit cards, driver’s licenses, stolen personal checks and other items.
Co-defendants Robert Alva Curd, 29, and Nicholas E. Dobbins, 25, both of Kansas City, Mo., have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.
Under federal statutes, each of the co-defendants are subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jane Pansing Brown and William L. Meiners. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service and the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department.