Texas Woman Accused of Stealing $570,000 in Bitcoin – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A 38-year-old Grand Prairie woman is facing an indictment in Dallas County for theft of more than $300,000 worth of Bitcoin.

According to court documents obtained by NBC 5, Dallas Police said 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 on the 3800 block of Gaspar Drive in Dallas on Jan. 25 after a person housesitting at the residence reported finding a broken window and signs of a burglary.

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

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

Police said the man reappeared about a half hour later exiting the home through the back door while carrying a Roomba, gun and an athletic bag that appeared to have a safe inside.

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

In an interview with a detective, police said Neria waived his rights and provided details of burglaries. One of those burglaries was at the home on Gaspar Drive.

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

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

NBC 5 News/Dallas County Jail

Joann Vasquez, booking photo, Sept. 6, 2022.

Police said while in custody Neria called Vasquez and requested money from the Bitcoin accounts be sent to his account and that a short time later 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 is in possession of the accounts that control the remainder of the Bitcoin.

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

Vasquez was booked into the Dallas County Jail on Tuesday. A bond amount has not yet been set and it’s not clear if she’s obtained an attorney.

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