A Dallas police officer, Senior Cpl. Theadora Ross, who was in charge of a popular tip hotline called Crime Stoppers, was arrested on Thursday for teaming up with another woman to defraud the unit out of over $250,000.
Prosecutors say Ross, 50, who ran the program since 2005, passed phony tip information to her accomplice, Malva Delley, 36, who would then claim rewards. They were each indicted with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
This is the way the tip program worked:
Informants would call a hotline with an anonymous tip about a crime. After providing the information to an operator, they would be given a tip number and password. Tipsters would call back periodically with their numbers to see if their tips resulted in a reward.
If they earned a reward, the tipster would go to a local bank, and using the case number and password, claim a reward of up to $5,000.
Ross was responsible for preparing the list of tips that were eligible for rewards, and sending the information to the bank. “These lists would include tip numbers and code words for tips that had been tampered with or altered by Ross together with legitimate cash reward tip numbers and code words,” according to court papers.
Prosecutors claim that the couple would “divide the cash, per Ross’ instructions, and deliver Ross’ share of the illegally obtained money by either directly depositing cash into Ross’ Bank of America bank account or by giving cash directly to Ross.”
The Dallas Police Department issued a statement saying that the alleged action was a “major breach of public trust.” An internal affairs investigation in the near future is expected to result in her firing.
Police official said no false arrests were made as a result of the scheme.