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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



JUNE 13, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SEVEN MISSOURIANS CHARGED WITH

FRAUD, ID THEFT


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and Jay Nixon, Missouri Attorney General, announced today that seven Missouri residents were indicted on federal charges of fraud and identity theft.


            The indictment was returned by a grand jury in Jefferson City on May 31, 2007, and unsealed today. The indictment was the culmination of an 18 month investigation by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, assisted by federal government agencies.


            The individuals charged are: Clayton J. Deardorff, of Kansas City, Mo.; Robin Lynette Deardorff, of Kansas City; Brenda McKay Adams, of Jefferson City; Erica Daniece Kelley, of Jefferson City; Angie Marie Roark, of New Bloomfield, Mo.; Anna Mary Stephens, of Jefferson City; and Krystal G. Stephens, of Jefferson City.


            The indictment alleges that the defendants used stolen identity information from mid-Missourians in order to set up phone service so they could communicate with inmates at state corrections facilities. Among the alleged identity theft victims were mentally disabled and other residents of group homes in Jefferson City and Columbia, and Missourians whose information allegedly was stolen by employees of the state Department of Revenue. The fraud scheme resulted in more than $80,000 in telephone charges, the indictment alleges.


            Wood’s office will handle prosecution of the charges; Nixon’s office initiated and handled much of the 18-month investigation, with assistance from inspectors for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration-Inspector General’s Office.


            All seven defendants face one count of conspiracy to defraud. The Deardorffs also face four charges of identity theft. The indictment charges the defendants with using identity information, such as names and Social Security numbers, from residents of mid-Missouri to set up multiple accounts for cell phones and telephone service. Those phones and phone lines allegedly were then used so inmates at state corrections facilities in central Missouri could communicate with the defendants and others outside prison. The scheme allegedly took place from at least as early as January 2002


            Prisoners in the Missouri Department of Corrections are allowed to make calls while confined, but have to have a method to pay for the calls. Often this is done by making collect calls. The indictment alleges the defendants set up phone lines and ordered cell phones using the stolen identities so that inmates they knew could make the collect calls. Generally the fraudulently-opened telephone services would continue until the telephone company canceled the service for non-payment, the indictment says.


            Clayton J. Deardorff was incarcerated at various Missouri prisons, including Tipton, Mo., Correctional Facility. Clayton J. Deardorff allegedly recruited his wife, Robin L. Deardorff, and others to steal identity information so he and others inside prison could make the collect calls. Robin L. Deardorff worked at a Jefferson City nursing home operated by New Horizons Community Support Services, Inc., where she had access to identity information of residents of the home. The indictment charges that Robin L. Deardorff stole this information to set up the phone lines and order cell phones.


            Angie M. Roark was an employee of Sprint PCS at various times, where she had access to identity information of Sprint customers. Her position at Sprint and her knowledge of the company’s methods and operating procedures enabled her to assist the other conspirators in the scheme, the indictment alleges. In addition, she allegedly had landlines installed and cell phones delivered to her residence as part of the scheme.


            Erica D. Kelley was an employee of the Missouri Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Bureau from 1998 to 2003. In this position, she had access to identification of Motor Vehicle Bureau customers which she allegedly delivered to Robin Deardorff and others as part of the scheme.


            Krystal G. Stephens was a part-time employee of the Missouri Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation and Collection from 2003 to 2005 and had access to identification information of division customers. She allegedly delivered that information to Robin Deardorff and others as part of the scheme.


            Anna M. Stephens was an employee of United Telephone Company (Sprint) at various times, where she had access to customers’ identification information and knowledge of the company’s methods and operating procedures. She alleged used that information to assist the conspirators in their scheme, and also had phone lines installed and cell phones delivered to her residence.


            Brenda McKay Adams allegedly use and allowed others to use her home address to have landlines installed and cell phones delivered, all of which had been ordered as part of the scheme.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            The first complaint about the alleged identity thefts came through a call to the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Hotline in December 2005, Nixon said. Nixon’s office launched an investigation. Investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service became involved because the scheme allegedly used the mail service to deliver the cell phones. Investigators from Housing and Urban Development - OIG became involved because the scheme allegedly occurred in part on residences that were part of federal public housing.


            Under federal law, conspiracy to commit fraud is punishable upon conviction by up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Identity theft is punishable by a federal prison term of no less than two years and no more than 15 years, as well as a $250,000 fine.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tony Gonzalez. It was investigated by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General.

            

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html