DALLAS—Theodora Ross, 52, of Rowlett, Texas, and a former senior corporal with the Dallas Police Department, pleaded guilty this morning, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from her role as head of Dallas Crime Stoppers office and one count of willfully attempting to evade assessment of income taxes, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Ross, who remains on bond, faces maximum statutory sentences of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud conspiracy count and five years in prison and a $100,000 fine on the income tax evasion count. Restitution may also be ordered. Sentencing is set for December 3, 2012, before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey.
Crime Stoppers is a nationwide program that offers cash rewards for information from anonymous callers that leads to the arrest and indictment of criminals. The program guarantees the anonymity of callers. The Dallas Crime Stoppers office is funded by the North Texas Crime Commission (NTCC), fines levied by the Dallas and Collin County courts, private donations and fund raising. At the time of the offense, the office was staffed by officers of the Dallas Police Department and deputies with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
Ross’s co-defendant in the case, Malva R. Delley, 38, of Dallas pleaded guilty on May 17, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to make a false statement to a financial institution. Delley, who also remains on bond, faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 24, 2012, by Judge Godbey.
According to the indictment in the case, Ross worked at the Dallas Crime Stoppers office from 2003 to May 2010 and headed that office from March 2006 to May 2010.
According to plea documents filed in the case, beginning in February 2005 and continuing to May 2010, Ross and Delley conspired together to defraud the NTCC. Ross determined which tips would be presented to the NTCC for cash reward approval and prepared the list of Crime Stoppers cash rewards that were to be paid each month and sent the lists to JP Morgan Chase Bank. These lists contained both bogus tips that Ross had created as part of the scheme and legitimate cash reward tip numbers and code words. Ross provided the bogus tip information to Delley, who then presented that information to the bank and collected cash rewards. Afterwards, Delley, per Ross’ instructions, divided the cash with Ross. On many occasions, Delley would deposit Ross’ share directly into Ross’ bank account.
Regarding the tax conviction, according to the factual resume filed in the case, Ross admitted that for calendar years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, she filed false and fraudulent federal income tax forms on which she falsely and substantially understated her taxable income by omitting the proceeds of her illegal fraudulent scheme. For those four years, Ross failed to report a total of nearly $175,000 in income and failed to pay nearly $38,000 in taxes due.