Man arrested for allegedly stealing checks intended for Star of Hope

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 7:20 PM

HOUSTON -- Police have arrested a man who somehow got his hands on checks intended for the Star of Hope.

Michael Ryals, 42, is accused of also using information from the checks to steal the donors' identities.

“It takes a particular type of scoundrel to steal from those who are sick and those who are in need,” said prosecutor Ed McClees. “And sadly, a lot of identity thefts target that very group.”

Ryals was allegedly found with checks made payable to the Star of Hope and using them to create fake checks and IDs.

“It looks like he was selling these for around two to three hundred dollars apiece,” McClees said

The district attorney's office said it isn't sure how Ryals came to possess the checks, but it’s not an isolated case.

“Let me put it this way, it’s not just one or two identity theft victims here,” McClees said. “There's going to be more.”

Star of Hope said it was informed by the district attorney’s office that a small number of checks from 2006 were recovered in a sting operation, and issued a statement which reads in part:

Star of Hope is very protective of our financial documents and maintains the highest level of security. We thank the DA's office for their vigilance.

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