Stolen ID ring busted in Houston

September 15, 2009 4:36:05 PM PDT
Hundreds of people across the country are the potential victims of a huge identity theft ring that operated out of Houston. And the victims may not even know they were targeted. The four suspects police arrested are each charged with engaging in organized criminal activity for allegedly stealing the identities of hundreds of people, a scheme that has already cost its victims, not to mention businesses, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's being billed as one of the largest, most sophisticated identity theft rings in recent history. Robert Lyles, 65, is the alleged mastermind and police say they've identified nearly 200 people from all over the country who are accused of trying to buy fake IDs and counterfeit checks manufactured by Lyles.

"Our goal is to identify as many of these individuals as we possibly can who may have committed crimes and get them arrested," said Lt. Robert Manzo with the Houston Police Department.

Police say Lyles ran his counterfeit operation out of a rented office in the Greenspoint area. They recovered hundreds of personal and business checks that he allegedly duplicated.

Investigators say Lyles would steal the information on a victim's personal check and search the website PublicData.com for a driver's license number to create the fake ID for his client.

"He was driving a nice car, had a lot of cash and just making a very good living at it," said Lt. Manzo.

Three of Lyle's alleged accomplices were also arrested as part of this investigation. -- Derald Desso, 41, William Jackson, 45, and Evelyn Dixon, 46, who police say acted as a runner.

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