Texas woman charged with stealing $570,000 in Bitcoin – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


A 38-year-old Grand Prairie woman is facing a Dallas County indictment for theft of over $300,000 worth of Bitcoin.

According to court documents obtained by NBC 5, Dallas police say that in January 2021, Joann Vasquez was in possession of $570,000 worth of Bitcoin acquired through account passwords stolen from a home.

Police said they were called to a home in the 3800 block of Gaspar Drive in Dallas on Jan. 25 after a person occupying the residence reported finding a broken window and signs of burglary.

Among the missing items was a safe containing Bitcoin account passwords. During a follow-up investigation with the owner, detectives learned that the passwords had been used to access accounts and transfer $570,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Investigators said surveillance video recorded at the residence showed a man forcing the door open and entering the yard shortly before noon on January 24. The man was seen on video peering through a glass door before stepping out of view.

Police say the man reappeared about half an hour later exiting the house through the back door while carrying a Roomba, a gun and a gym bag that appeared to contain a safe inside. inside.

The man, later identified by police as Michael Jason Neria, was arrested March 3, 2021 at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, on outstanding burglary warrants in Frisco, Irving and Dallas. Police said he was suspected of involvement in nearly two dozen burglaries along with several other known suspects.

During an interview with a detective, police said Neria waived her rights and provided details of the break-ins. One of these burglaries happened at the house on Gaspar Drive.

Police say Neria confessed that Vasquez had all but $100,000 of the Bitcoin funds and controlled the account and passwords and knew the funds came from the burglary.

In the arrest document, police said Vasquez was observed on video using her Texas driver’s license to withdraw funds from a Bitcoin ATM after the robbery.

NBC 5 News / Dallas County Jail

Joann Vasquez, booking photo, September 6, 2022.

Police said while in custody that Neria called Vasquez and requested that the money from the bitcoin accounts be sent to his account and shortly thereafter the funds arrived. Officers said they were able to recover $100,000 from Neria, leaving about $470,000 unaccounted for. Investigators said they believe Vasquez was in possession of the accounts that control the rest of Bitcoin.

Investigators said Vasquez withdrew nearly $9,400 from Bitcoin ATMs during four visits between January 25, 2021 and February 1, 2021.

Vasquez was sentenced to Dallas County Jail on Tuesday. The amount of bail has not yet been set and it is unclear whether she has obtained a lawyer.

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