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El Paso ID theft suspects may have worked for Nigerian man

By Maggie Ybarra \ El Paso Times
Posted: 07/15/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT
EL PASO — Police are investigating the possibility that two El Pasoans suspected of participating in a nationwide Internet scam that netted $450,000 may have also victimized people in other countries.

Police said David Viado and his girlfriend, Nallely Galindo, both 24, were arrested Monday after a two-year investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, El Paso police financial crimes detectives and U.S. Postal Service investigators. They were jailed without bond under federal charges of unauthorized access to devices.

The two were using an e-mail virus to scam people into providing them with personal information, police said.

“They were able to secure personal information (that way) and that’s how they were able to obtain credit in other people’s names,” said police spokesman Darrel Petry.

They were also obtaining home equity lines of credit and accessing checking and savings accounts with that personal information, said Sgt. Rod Liston, a financial crimes detective.

Viado and Galindo may have scammed hundreds of thousands of people, police said. But at this point in the investigation, it is unclear whether they worked by themselves or for someone else, Liston said.

Investigators are looking into the allegation that they worked for a Nigerian man. If that allegation is true, then the arrests of Viado and Galindo are only the “tip of the iceberg,” Liston said.

“If this Nigerian is real … then he probably has other people working for him outside of El Paso,” he said.

Viado was aware he was being investigated back in 2009, Liston said. He moved to Arlington to evade the scrutiny of investigators and continued committing the same crimes there, Liston said.

“He fled at one point because he thought he was going to get caught,” Liston said.

Police said they plan to launch their own investigation into the financial crimes perpetrated by Viado and Galindo because about 10 of their victims live in El Paso.

Viado and Galindo attended Montwood High School when they were teenagers, school officials said Wednesday.

Galindo graduated from the school in 2005, but Viado had to leave the school during his senior year after police discovered that he was responsible for making a bomb threat at the school on Feb. 10, 2004, according to court documents.

Viado pleaded guilty to making the bomb threat five months later. A judge gave him three years of probation in 2004 and forbade him from going within 1,000 feet of the school, court documents show.

In October 2006, Viado violated that probation by failing to report to his supervisor, according to a motion to adjudicate guilt. He had a warrant out for violating probation when he and Galindo were apprehended Monday, police said.

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July 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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