2 Texans Arrested in La. in Multi-state Identity Theft Scheme

A pair of Texas men face a variety of charges after Louisiana authorities say they stole identities and defrauded businesses in three states of more than $1 million.

Michael McDowell, 30, and Jason Mark Freeman, 31, both of Dallas, are being held in the Bossier Parish, La., maximum security jail in Plain Dealing after authorities say they had to lay down a spike strip to stop their vehicle during a May 8 chase.

The pursuit started in Ruston and ended in Bossier Parish.

McDowell faces one count of aggravated flight from an officer, and Freeman faces one count of possession of a Schedule III Controlled Dangerous Substance and littering, said Ed Baswell, a spokesman for the Bossier Parish sheriff’s office.

Both also face pending charges from the Ruston Police Department and the Caddo Parish sheriff’s office.

In Caddo Parish, and investigation began after an identity theft victim in Oklahoma notified the parish’s White Collar Crimes Task Force that someone in Shreveport was trying to open an account using his name, sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick said.

The men used stolen identities and tax information from various businesses to open accounts and obtain merchandise such as computers and tools on credit, Chadwick said. They then shipped the items to businesses in Dallas and Wyoming where they were sold at half price.

At least $70,000 worth merchandise was stolen in the Shreveport area while the two were staying in hotels between Monroe and Tyler, Texas, Chadwick said.

Bond for McDowell was set at $25,000, and $2,700 for Freeman, Baswell said. They likely will be transferred to the Caddo Correctional Center, but officials with the Caddo and Bossier sheriff’s offices were not sure when that would happen.

Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com