Five Dallas individuals were indicted last week for their role in a mail theft ring that operated in the area since February 2004, according to a U.S. Attorney’s office statement.

The defendants charged are Vito Anthony Rizzo, 20, of Garland, Texas; Paul Norman Hataluk, 46, of Mesquite, Texas; Michael Wayne Hough, 24, of Garland, Texas; Angelina Marie Simmons, 30, of Garland, Texas; and Keren Alisa Lasky Glenn, 34, of Dallas.

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly schemed to possess embezzled and stolen mail, or the contents of that mail, and to go through that mail looking for things of value, such as checks, credit cards, credit card numbers, credit card convenience checks, and other identifying information. Also as part of the scheme, they allegedly used computer equipment to make counterfeit checks from stolen mail.

They would use or attempt to use the items to purchase good and services, or would accept these items as payment for services. As part of their scheme they also allegedly used computer equipment to make counterfeit checks from stolen mail, stole mail and assisted in stealing mail from delivery and mail boxes and use other people’s identities to obtain, or attempt to obtain, goods or services.

The indictment charges all five defendants with conspiracy to possess stolen mail matter. Vito Anthony Rizzo is also charged with four counts of possession of stolen mail matter.

If convicted on all counts, Rizzo faces a maximum statutory sentence of 25 years imprisonment, a $1.25 million fine and restitution.

The remaining four defendants each face a maximum statutory sentence of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Consumer concern over identity theft has skyrocketed in the wake of scandals over information theft from ChoicePoint and LexisNexis, among others.

The disposal rule of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, or FACTA, went into effect June 1, as a way to add consumer protection in situations where companies hold their credit information.

The rule mandates that anyone, including real estate and mortgage companies, possessing personal information from consumer credit reports must properly dispose of such material to protect against unauthorized access to the material.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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