Authorities reported on Sept. 11 that prosecutors in Grayson County recently obtained indictments for 16 individuals who were allegedly involved in a Northern Texas fraud scheme. Prosecutors accused the individuals of causing bank losses exceeding $1.3 million.

Allegedly, the 16 individuals illegally entered into parked vehicles in order to steal identity information from purses, wallets and checkbooks. According to officials, some of the individuals would then cash stolen checks in bank drive-thru lanes while donning disguises. Moreover, the individuals used rental cars with false Texas license plates while cashing the checks in the drive-thru lanes.

The 16 individuals reportedly face more than 76 counts, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Officials suspect that the fraud scheme stretched as far as the Dallas-Fort Worth area,.

People accused of participating in a fraud scheme like this alleged one may face serious, life-altering penalties if convicted. Depending upon the extent of the crime, offenders may be sentenced to jail and forced to repay money stolen as a result of the scheme. Offenders may also be assessed a lengthy probation. These penalties may wreak havoc on an individual’s personal and professional life.

It is important for individuals accused of fraud crimes to retain the counsel and representation of a criminal defense attorney. The attorney may help mount a robust defense against the charges. For example, the attorney may challenge the validity of the evidence constituting the prosecution’s case. Even if the prosecution’s case appears to be unassailable, the defense attorney may have the opportunity to negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors, through which accused individuals may receive reduced penalties in exchange for entering a guilty plea.

Source: KTXS, “16 indicted in Texas ID theft, bank scam”, September 12, 2014