Darien Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Service Member
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Northeast Field Office, today announced that CHRISTOPHER TEIXEIRA, 34, of Darien, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court to one count of wire fraud relating to his theft of more than $57,000 from a former U.S. Navy service member.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”) is the agency of the U.S. Department of Defense that administers all payments to U.S. service members. DFAS operates the “MyPay” online portal, through which service members may provide and obtain information related to payments from DFAS.
A U.S. Navy service member (“the victim”) was scheduled to receive a medical severance payment from the Navy in January 2017. The victim provided his MyPay login and password information to Teixeira, who he trusted with certain financial responsibilities. On January 10, 2017, before the victim was to receive the medical severance payment, Teixeira changed the victim’s direct deposit information to a bank account controlled by Teixeira. DFAS then sent the victim’s $57,255.66 medical severance payment to Teixeira’s account. In order to avoid detection, Teixeira logged back into the victim’s MyPay account and reverted the direct deposit instructions back to the victim’s bank account.
Teixeira and the victim communicated after Teixeira stole the medical severance payment. Instead of admitting to the theft, Teixeira told the victim that he would assist in finding the money. When the victim indicated he was in need of funds, Teixeira transferred approximately $6,500 to the victim without telling him that Teixeira had stolen the money.
Teixeira used the stolen funds to pay his own personal expenses, and transferred $25,000 to another individual’s account.
The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. Teixeira is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on February 20, 2019.
Teixeira is released pending sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer R. Laraia.