The former chief of the Dallas Crime Stoppers and 26-year police veteran, Theadora Ross, has been indicted on fraud charges in connection with the Dallas Crime Stoppers program.
Ross is accused of collecting $250,000 in cash rewards for fake tips reported to the Dallas Crime Stoppers. The Dallas Crime Stoppers program accepts anonymous tips about criminal activity and pays cash rewards for information that results in arrests or indictments of suspects.
The program is designed to protect the identity of tipsters when making tips and collecting their rewards for successful tips. After calling the Crime Stoppers, a tipster receives a unique tip number and must regularly call the tip line to check the status of the tip.
If a reward is approved for the tip, a code word is given to the tipster when he or she calls to check the status of his or her tip number. Tip numbers and their corresponding code words are e-mailed to a bank, where the tipster can obtain the cash reward by presenting the tip number and code word.
Among other duties, Ross was responsible for sending the list of tip numbers and code words to the bank. The indictment claims that Ross would include fake tip numbers and code words on the list and give that information to another person. That other person would then collect the reward money from the bank and share it with Ross, according to court documents.
If convicted, Ross could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in addition to forfeiture of all the allegedly ill-gotten funds.
Court documents did not indicate whether the scheme was discovered through an anonymous tip.