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A scam targeting Asian Texans that began when the state unknowingly sent thousands of driver’s licenses to an organized crime group is far more sweeping than originally reported, with six-figure rip-offs across multiple states, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.
According to a report by our media partners at The Dallas Morning News, web of suspects around the country used the IDs to draw huge sums from victims’ bank accounts, buy luxury cars and open credit cards, the officials told The Dallas Morning News in an exclusive briefing. At least 5,000 Texans are victims of the scheme, including some in the Dallas area.
The revelations come as the department had its first arrest in the case earlier this month, and on Friday the suspect, Tony Cao Li, was extradited from New York. More arrests are expected as the investigation continues, DPS officials who provided the briefing said. They asked not to be named because the investigation is still active. The Dallas Morning News also reviewed court documents filed in Travis County.
The scam exposed vulnerabilities in the state’s online systems, and department leaders faced criticism for waiting months to tell Texans their identities may be stolen.