Posted: 3:57 pm PDT
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A Grand Jury in the Southern District of Texas indicted three women charged with nine counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with the alleged use of U.S. passport information in Houston. One of the women has been identified by media reports as a contractor working for the State Department. Both the AP and local news say that the Houston and Atlanta passport offices were targeted.
Beginning on or about the year 2010 until on or about March 2, 2015, in the Houston Division of Southern District of Texas and elsewhere,
CHLOE ALYSE MCCLENDON, DOMONIQUE RASHAD THOMAS, A/K/A DOMINIQUE RASHAD THOMAS, A/K/A “TEEN” A/K/A “NIQUE”, and ALICIA LENA MYLES,
defendants herein, did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury to devise and intend to devise a scheme and artiﬁce to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and in execution of said scheme and artiﬁce, transmit or cause to be transmitted by means of wire in interstate commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds for the purpose of executing said scheme or artiﬁce to defraud in Violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to charging documents, the accused were alleged to have done the following: 1) obtain personal identifying information (PII) of others from the Department of State, Passport Administration; 2) transmit the stolen PII to and from each other, 3) use the stolen PII to create counterfeit identiﬁcation documents, 4) recruit accomplices 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, 5) cause commercial entities to transmit the stolen PII to assist in the establishment of commercial lines of credit.
An AP report citing authorities identifies McClendon as the contract employee for the State Department passport office. A quick social media search indicates that the accused is a Senior Customer Service Tech for a federal contractor.
Initial appearance hearing for Chloe Alyse McClendon and Domonique Rashad Thomas was set for today, 5/7/2015 at 02:00 PM before Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy. Prosecutors told the AP that Alicia Myles remains a fugitive but Click2Houston reports that all three appeared before the judge on Thursday afternoon and were released on bond. Clip below from click2houston.com:
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The case is USA v. McClendon et. al. criminal case #: 4:15-cr-00233-1.
This looks related to our recent post: Bringing Cellphones to Work Ends For Federal Employees in 22 Domestic Passport Offices.
In related news, the Passport Office will reportedly start banning cell phone usage for PPT in SA-17. We’re told that the apparent hold up is due to storage facilities for cellphones outside the workspace. Our source says he/she can’t see how they will let the rest of SA-17 bring cell phones in, since they look at the same PII information, like passsport applications. Keep us posted.