Identity theft has become more prevalent in recent years and may be organized by gangs that operate across state lines.
Several police departments have reported an alleged “smash-and-grab theft ring” which is infamous for stealing identities of victims and committing bank fraud has returned to North Texas.
The Dallas Morning News reported the comments of police that this group normally steals purses and wallets from parked cars. Gang members have even been known to wear wigs or makeup to resemble the people whose IDs they’ve stolen.
Police say gang members will use the stolen identification to cash checks at bank drive through lanes. The practice of using the furthest lane from the bank to cash check because it’s more difficult for bank tellers to match gang members up with their IDs, gave the gang the name the Felony Lane Gang.
Police believe gang members have been active in Flower Mound, Lewisville and Southlake, according to the WFAA TV station.
The Dallas Morning News reported that gang members have been indicted on federal charges in the past. In 2014, 16 people associated with the Felony Lane Gang faced federal indictments. Although the crimes were focused on North Texas, they were also committed in South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Florida.
Identity theft has become an increasingly common crime in the United States in recent years. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported in 2014 there were 368 big data breaches of identity theft as well as in excess of 10.7 million reported cases of personal information being exposed.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics stated 16.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2012. In the same period just 6.8 million total non-fatal violent crimes occurred.
Federal crimes typically incur more serious sanctions than other offenses. If a defendant is convicted of a white-collar offense in federal court his or her sentence is predominantly going to be determined by the federal sentencing guidelines. If you have been charged with an offense like this, it’s vital to hire a criminal defense attorney with a long experience in representing people charged with white collar crimes. See our resources on white collar crimes in Texas for further information.