Norwalk Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Service Member
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Jeffery Thorpe, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Cyber Field Office, today announced that CHRISTOPHER TEIXEIRA, 35, formerly of Darien and currently residing in Norwalk, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to six months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for stealing 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.
The investigation revealed that Teixeira also defrauded the Navy Federal Credit Union of $25,736.95 by taking out a personal loan and opening a credit card in the victim’s name.
Teixeira used the stolen funds to pay his own personal expenses, and transferred $25,000 to another individual’s account.
Judge Bryant ordered Teixeira to make full restitution to the victim and the Navy Federal Credit Union.
“Unauthorized access of Department of Defense networks and the victimization of American warfighters present significant risks to U.S. national security and Department of Defense operations, and DCIS special agents will aggressively hunt down and bring cyber criminals to justice,” said Jeffery Thorpe, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Cyber Field Office. “This sentencing is the direct result of a joint investigative effort between DCIS and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Criminal Investigations Branch to vigorously investigate individuals who illegally access Department of Defense networks and those that would exploit American warfighters that have served their country. We remain vigilant in our efforts to safeguard the integrity of the Department of Defense and its enterprise of information technology systems.”
On October 17, 2018, Teixeira pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Teixeira, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on January 8, 2020.
This matter was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer R. Laraia.