Seven people are being accused of identity theft and conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with a scheme that allegedly involved former state employees and state prisoners.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon and John Wood, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the indictment Wednesday in a news release.
According to the release, the defendants used stolen identities to set up phone lines and order cell phones so that inmates they knew at state correctional facilities could make collect calls. Mentally disabled individuals and other residents of group homes in Jefferson City and Columbia were among the alleged victims of identity theft.
The attorney general’s office is accusing Robin Deardorff, a former employee at a Jefferson City nursing home, of orchestrating the scheme with the help of Krystal Stephens, 21, and Erica D. Kelley, 28, both of Jefferson City. The two are former employees of the Missouri Department of Revenue who had access to the records of Motor Vehicle Bureau customers, the news release stated.
The company that operates the nursing home where Deardorff worked, New Horizons Community Support Services Inc., declined to comment.
The indictment alleges that the two women worked with former Sprint employees Angie Roark, 29, of New Bloomfield, and Anna Mary Stephens, 30, of Jefferson City, to provide Deardorff with information that allowed her to set up phone lines and order cell phones.
Also included in the indictment are Clayton Deardorff, 29, and Brenda Adams, 33, both of Jefferson City.
All seven face one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, and the Deardorffs also face four charges of identity theft. If convicted, all seven face 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.
The indictment stems from an 18-month investigation conducted by the attorney general’s office with the help of the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Wood will handle the prosecution of the charges.
The attorney general’s office could not be reached for comment.