Harris County

Sheriff’s Office Thwarts Identity Theft Scheme

An employee from a local bank noticed two men attempted to gain access to an account holder’s home equity line of credit using false identification

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced Wednesday his Financial Crimes Unit, in collaboration with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, have recently thwarted an identity theft scheme.

Gonzalez said in a press conference the people behind the scheme intended to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sergeant Joshua Nowitz, who works for the Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Unit, explained that on June 22 patrol deputies responded to a call from a Wells Fargo branch located in the east side of unincorporated Harris County.

Nowitz detailed that an employee at the branch had noticed that two suspects had attempted to gain access to a Florida account holder’s home equity line of credit using false identification. The deputies apprehended the two suspects, who were interviewed.

“Based on the quick action of our patrol deputies, we were able to gain information and evidence on the scene that led to a search warrant which was executed on July 5th 2018,” Nowitz added.

Based on the investigation three suspects face felony charges. They are Epheson Fikru, 27, who is charged with first degree felony for engaging in organized criminal activity; Kevin Washington, 26, who is charged with a felony for tampering with a government record; and Shawn Adrian, 49, who is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

Fikru and Washington have been charged, processed and released on bond, while Adrian is currently wanted.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, the charge for engaging in organized criminal activity can carry a punishment that ranges from five years in prison to life in prison.

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