One Dozen Arrested in Identity Theft and Counterfeit Ring

December 27, 2007 - Houston police investigators with the Financial Crimes Unit arrested 12 suspects following an investigation into an identity theft and counterfeit ring in east Houston.

Officers arrested the suspects last Friday (Dec. 21) at 6928 Ilex. The following ten suspects are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in the 232nd State District Court: Daniel Vega Marin (H/m, DOB: 10/17/70), Jesus Garcia (H/m, DOB: 1/25/74), Jose Manuel Jimenez (H/m, DOB: 6/17/76), Idelfonso Farfan Mora (H/m, DOB: 12/25/75), Luis Ramires Luna (H/m, DOB: 3/20/70), Juan Manuel Zepeda (H/m, DOB: 1/30/84), Aldahir Gonzalez Chavez (H/m, DOB: 11/20/75), Victor Acosta (H/m, DOB: 12/24/65), Jose Galarza (H/m, DOB: 9/21/80), and Joses Luis Flores (H/m, DOB: 1/25/74). Two others, Maria Ramos (H/f, DOB: 4/18/74) and Felipe Diaz (H/m, DOB: 5/15/80) are each charged with forgery in the 232nd State District Court.

Four additional suspects are not being charged but are being held on immigration detainers, as are the 12 arrested suspects. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will investigate all suspects.

Financial Crimes Unit detectives initiated their investigation in early December into a large-scale identity theft and counterfeit check-cashing ring based at a residence in east Houston at 6928 Ilex. The ring operated in California, Arizona and in south Texas and is responsible for cashing nearly $70,000 in counterfeit checks each week. Last Friday (Dec. 21), Burglary and Theft Division Financial Crimes Unit investigators, HPD Eastside Patrol Division Gang and Tactical Units, the United States Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Special Crimes Bureau executed a search and arrest warrant at the residence on Ilex which resulted in the arrests of the suspects and the recovery of counterfeit checks and government documents.

Investigators determined the ring operated after a person gained employment with a legitimate business in the Houston area and received a paycheck. Suspects then counterfeited the checks and cashed them at Houston or Dallas area check cashing businesses.

The recovered checks found at the residence on Ilex contained legitimate account and routing numbers from a Houston area business.

GO/JFC/RM 12-27-07
Inc #186316507

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.