From 2006 to 2010, Dallas police officer Theadora Ross was the respected head of the Dallas area Crime Stoppers program. You know Crime Stoppers: there are branches of Crime Stoppers all over the world, dedicated to solving crimes by allowing people to provide information that may lead to an arrest of an evildoer without having to directly deal with the police face to face.
Crime Stoppers Organizations Are Big Deals These Days, With Big Reward Funds
Being able to share what someone knows without having to give their name has proven to be an invaluable tool to law enforcement, and Crime Stoppers is viewed as a major crime-fighting tool in most law enforcement circles. Part of its reputation has come from the ability of Crime Stoppers to bring new information to police when investigations don't have much to go on, using money: Crime Stoppers offers rewards to folk who come forward and spill what they know. You've probably seen an advertisement or two, where a reward is offered for information in an unsolved case.
Dallas Cop Sentenced for Taking $250,000 From Dallas Crime Stoppers' Pot of Reward Money
Which means that Crime Stoppers has money in a pot for those rewards, something that Theadora Ross found just too, too tempting there at the Dallas Crime Stoppers office. Never mind that Theadora Ross was a Dallas police officer, who had sworn to perserve, protect, and defend: Officer Ross was sentenced this week to 46 months incarceration in a federal pen for income tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud (she pled guilty back in August 2012, there was no trial).
Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Theodora Ross was arrested back in June 2010 by Dallas police while setting in her Crime Stoppers office; seems her pal, Malva Delley, spilled the beans on Ross after Delley was questioned by police. How did the cops find out? An observant bank teller became suspicious after seeing Delley collecting more than one CrimeStoppers reward, and picked up a phone.
Delley and Ross were both arrested, and Delley pled guilty back to one count of conspiracy to make a false statement to a financial institution in May 2011.
While Dallas citizens (and Dallas police) trusted Theodora Ross to run Crime Stoppers, seems that the Dallas police officer was busy creating fake tip numbers to be paid on Crime Stopper cases. These tip numbers are the tools to allow CrimeStoppers to pay rewards to anonymous tippers: present the tip number to the bank, and you are paid the reward in cash. It was an easy scheme: Delley would use Ross's fake tip number to collect the money from the bank as a Crime Stoppers reward.
The rewards added up. By the time that these two grifters were caught, they had taken a quarter of a million dollars from the North Texas Crime Commission, which funds the Dallas Crime Stoppers (along with Dallas court fines, Collin County court fines, fundraising efforts and charitable donations to Crime Stoppers). That's right: $250,000.00.
Ross Ordered to Pay Back the Money and To Pay Her Income Taxes, Too
Luckily, the money may be recouped. Ross has been ordered to pay $274,304.00 in restitution as part of her sentencing. That's covering losses to Crime Stoppers as well as taxes due: over a four year time period, it was found that Officer Ross failed to pay around $38,000 in income taxes on the $175,000 of income she received in her conning. That's right: the IRS expects to be paid even if the income is from an illegal grift.
Here's a question that hasn't been answered in the news coverage or the court opinions or FBI press releases: is that bank teller whose tip lead to the discovery of this huge fraud on CrimeStoppers going to get a reward for calling in her suspicions? Just wondering.