Update: Tyler police say this morning they have arrested all but 5 suspects.
A four month investigation by the Tyler Police Department and the FBI led to 12 arrests and the announcement of 9 additional suspects Wednesday in an identity theft case that has seen nearly 50 East Texans scammed out of an estimated $72,000.
33-year-old Brandon Sessions--the man police call the ring leader--turned himself in Wednesday afternoon. Two months earlier one of his alleged victims was just realizing he was in the cross-hairs of a thief.
"I received a letter in the mail saying I had missed my payments to QuickCash," the victim, who asked us not to release his name, said. "So I called them and they said 'well, we made you a loan for $775."
That man said he never asked for a loan and he doesn't know how scammers got his information. According to the loan company he was in default.
Stories like his got the attention of Tyler PD and the FBI. The loans were feeding bank accounts that didn't belong to the victims. Instead police said they'd been opened by the people accused in this case.
"Family members and friends and friends of friends that were all involved," Tyler Police Officer Don Martin said. "They were going to websites where you could obtain loans on the website as long as you had all the correct information."
"You can take all the preventative measures possible and there's still no 100% guarantee that it's not going to happen to you," the East Texas Better Business Bureau's Mechele Mills said. "And that's what's so scary about it."
Mills recommends checking your credit report every few months. Scams like this won't show up on your bank statements.
"But once it does happen it is, I think it's 600 hours is the average amount of time to get this stuff taken off," she said. "It is miserable."
The victim said he got lucky because the loan company believed him and wiped the loan off his record.
"So far this hasn't cost me any money," the victim said. "Just a lot of trouble and time."
The release from the Tyler Police Department and a list of suspects is below:
TYLER(KYTX) - A four month Fraud investigation conducted by investigators of the Tyler Police Department, FBI and other County and local police agencies has led to numerous suspects being charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.
Investigators were contacted since January, 2013 by 45 victims who stated that their identity was fraudulently used stemming back to 2012. The suspects were going on-line and obtaining multiple loans, using the victims' identities, and have the funds transferred into the suspect's bank accounts that they had set up. The victims were not aware of the fictitious loans in their names until they were contacted by the loan company for default of payment.
Investigators have identified 21 suspects at this time, who are predominately from Tyler, for their involvement in the fraud scheme. Investigators have obtained arrest warrants on these suspects for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, a first degree felony. Bond was set at $750,000 on each suspect.
A list of suspects provided below, includes those who have been arrested and those who police cannot locate that have an outstanding warrant for their arrest.
1. Brandon Sessions, B/M, 08/07/1979, of Rusk. Arrested 05/01/2013
2. Demarcus Osborn, B/M, 11/12/1989, of Tyler. Unable to Locate
3. Jessica Osborn, B/F, 07/29/1988, of Tyler. Arrested 05/01/2013
4. Kachada Webb, B/F, 09/25/1989, of Tyler. Unable to Locate
5. Michael Hunter, B/M, 01/07/1989, of Tyler. Arrested 05/01/2013
6. Lashundra Harris, B/F, 12/29/1991, of Tyler. Unable to Locate
7. Tevin King, B/M, 01/07/1994, of San Antonio. Unable to Locate
8. Roderick TaylorII, B/M, 05/06/1988, of Tyler. Unable to Locate
9. Derrick Griffith, B/M, 12/13/1993, of Tyler. Arrested 05/01/2013
10. Christopher Pipkins, B/M, 12/10/1988, of Tyler. Arrested 05/01/2013
11. Britani Anderson, B/F, 09/08/1985, of Jacksonville. Arrested 05/02/2013
12. Michael Earl, B/M, 09/30/1989, of Tyler. Arrested 05/02/2013
13. James Miller Jr., B/M, 10/25/1983, of Tyler. Arrested 05/01/2013
14. Kedarius Oliver, B/M, 10/4/1993, of Tyler Arrested
15. Shavonda Jones, B/M, 12/30/1984, of Tyler Arrested
16. Russell Lowrie, B/M, 06/03/1991, of Tyler. Arrested
17. Demarciar Nelson, B/M, 02/09/1989, of Tyler. Arrested
18. Chartyll McCullough, B/F, 02/17/1990, of Tyler. Arrested
19. Kendallyn Adams, B/M, 09/05/1974, of Jacksonville. Arrested
20. Kimberly Stewart, B/F, 07/13/1985, of Tyler. Arrested
21. Desidre Harris, B/F, 05/20/1995, of Tyler. Arrested
Anyone with information about the suspects involved in this crime is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833). Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspects in this case or any felony case.