DALLAS (CN) - A police officer who led Dallas Crime Stoppers was sentenced Monday to 46 months in federal prison for stealing $250,000 in rewards for bogus tips.
Senior Cpl. Theadora Ross, 52, of Rowlett, also was ordered to pay $274,000 in restitution to the North Texas Crime Commission.
Ross pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax evasion. She admitted that from 2006 to 2009 she failed to report profits from the scheme, ducking more than $38,000 in income taxes.
Crime Stoppers guarantees tipsters anonymity so they can call without fear of retribution. The tipsters get numbers and a code word to use if they become eligible for a cash reward. The number and code word get them a reward when they present them at a JP Morgan Chase Bank.
Prosecutors said Ross provided co-defendant Malva R. Delley, 38, of Dallas, bogus tip numbers and code words, and the women split the take.
"Beginning in February 2005 and continuing to May 2010, Ross and Delley conspired together to defraud the NTCC," prosecutors said in a statement. "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."
Prosecutors said the lists contained both bogus tips that Ross had created and legitimate cash reward tip numbers and code words. They say Ross gave the bogus tip information to Delley, who presented that information to the bank and collected the cash rewards.
"Afterwards, Delley, per Ross's instructions, divided the cash with Ross," prosecutors said. "On many occasions, Delley would deposit Ross's share directly into Ross's bank account."
Ross must report to prison by Jan. 14.
Delley pleaded guilty to conspiring to make a false statement to a bank.
Dallas Crime Stoppers is funded by the North Texas Crime Commission, fines levied by the Dallas and Collin County courts, private donations and fund raising.