Three Charged in Aggravated Identity Theft and Wire Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON - A nine-count federal indictment has been returned against Chloe McClendon, 26, Domonique Thomas, 25, and Alicia Myles, 31, all of Houston, alleging they engaged in an aggravated identity theft scheme involving the theft of personally identifiable information from the Department of State’s Houston and Atlanta Passport Agencies, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Wayne May, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) - Houston Field Office.
Thomas was taken into custody, while McClendon surrendered to federal authorities. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy as early as 10:00 a.m. this morning. A warrant remains outstanding for Myles.
The indictment, returned May 6, 2015, charges all three defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identify theft.
“DSS is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of crime related to passport fraud and identity theft and to bring those who commit these crimes to justice,” said May. “When a public servant in a position of trust is alleged to have committed a federal felony such as passport fraud or identity theft, we vigorously investigate claims of corruption.”
McClendon, Thomas and Myles allegedly engaged in the wire fraud/aggravated identity theft scheme by stealing personally identifiable information of individuals from the Department of State Passport Agency. McClendon was a contract employee who worked there. The indictment alleges the defendants used the stolen and unlawfully obtained personally identifiable information of true persons to create counterfeit identification documents. They then recruited other individuals to assume the stolen identities and use the counterfeit documents to obtain commercial lines of credit and to purchase iPhones, iPads and other electronic merchandise.
The conspiracy charge and each substantive count of wire fraud carries a possible 20-year federal prison sentence as well as a possible $250,000 fine. If convicted of aggravated identify theft, the defendants also face an additional mandatory two-year prison term on each count which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
The investigation leading up to the arrest was conducted by DSS and the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ted Imperato and Alamdar Hamdani are prosecuting this case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.