Two Houston Residents Arrested in Identity Theft Scheme
HOUSTON – A Houston man and woman have been charged in connection with a scheme that used stolen identifying information to file false tax returns and unemployment insurance claims, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
A grand jury returned a sealed indictment against Trenecia Moore, 33, and Michael Muniz, 27, yesterday. They were taken into custody this morning, at which time the indictment was unsealed. They are expected to make their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson at 2:00 p.m. today.
The indictment alleges Moore and another individual filed false tax claims and unemployment insurance claims with identifying information of others. They then allegedly loaded the funds from those false claims onto debit cards and had them delivered to false addresses. According to the indictment, Muniz assisted them in retrieving the cards and withdrawing the funds.
Moore and Muniz are both charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and face up to five years in federal prison. Moore is also charged with two additional counts of aggravated identity theft which carries a mandatory and consecutive 24-month prison sentence. The charges also carry the possibility of up to a $250,000 fine.
The Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and Texas Workforce Commission conducted the investigation with the assistance of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.