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North Texas Woman Arrested For The Theft Of Over $400,000 Worth in Bitcoin

The Grand Prairie resident is accused of using information stolen during a burglary
Image: LightField Studios | Shutterstock

On September 6, 2022, Joann Vasquez, a 38-year-old North Texas woman, was booked into the Dallas County Jail and is facing an indictment for the theft of over $400,000 worth of Bitcoin. 

According to court documents acquired by NBC 5, the Dallas Police said they were called to a home at the 3800 block of Gaspar Drive in Dallas on January 25, 2021, after the person homesitting the residence found a broken window and visible indications of a burglary.

The investigators said a surveillance video showed a man entering the backyard the day before near noon and leaving half an hour later carrying a Roomba, gun and an athletic bag that seemed to hide a safe inside. 

The homeowner told investigators that the missing safe contained Bitcoin account information and passwords that had been recently used to access accounts and transfer $470,000 of Bitcoin.

On March 3, 2021, police arrested Michael Jason Neria, identified as the man breaking into the residence, at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma on outstanding burglary warrants out of Frisco, Irving and Dallas. According to the police, Neria was suspected of participating in nearly two dozen burglaries with the help of other known suspects.

The police said that Neria waived his rights and provided information regarding the burglaries, among them, the one at the Gaspar Drive home. Neira told officers that Vasquez, aware that the information came from a burglary, was in possession of most of the Bitcoin funds and had control over the account and passwords. In addition, the arresting document states that Vasquez was seen on video using her Texas driver's license to withdraw funds from a Bitcoin ATM after the burglary.

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

According to the Dallas Police, while in custody, Neria called Vasquez requesting money from the Bitcoin accounts to his own. Sure enough, a short time later Neria’s account received the funds. While the police was able to recover $100,000 from Neria, some $470,000 are still unaccounted for and Vasquez is believed to allegedly have control over the accounts that control the reminder funds.