A 38-year-old Grand Prairie woman is facing an indictment in Dallas County of stealing more than $300,000 in bitcoin.
According to court documents obtained by NBC 5, Dallas police said that in January 2021, Joan Vasquez owned $570,000 of bitcoin obtained through account passwords stolen from a home.
Police said they were called to a home in the 3800 block of Gaspar Road in Dallas on Jan. 25 after someone who lived in the house 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, investigators learned that passwords had been used to access the accounts and transfer $570,000 in bitcoin.
Investigators said surveillance video recorded at the home showed a man forcing the gate open and entering the backyard shortly before noon on January 24. In the video, the man is seen looking through a glass door before getting out of sight.
Police said the man reappeared about half an hour later and walked out of the house through the back door with a Roomba, a pistol and a gym bag that appeared to have a safe inside.
The man, later identified by police as Michael Jason Nerea, was arrested on March 3, 2021, at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma on pending burglary warrants from Frisco, Irving and Dallas. Police said he is suspected of being involved in nearly two dozen burglaries with several known suspects.
In an interview with an investigator, the police said Neria had waived his rights and provided details of the robberies. One of the burglaries was at the house on Gaspar Road.
Police said Nerea admitted that Vasquez owned all but $100,000 of bitcoin, had control of the account and passwords, and knew the money came from the robbery.
In the arrest document, police said Vasquez was seen on videotape using her Texas driver’s license to withdraw money from a Bitcoin ATM after the burglary.
Police said Neria called Vasquez while she was in custody and requested that money from bitcoin accounts be sent to his account and that soon after the money arrived. Officers said they were able to recover $100,000 from Neria, leaving about $470,000 missing. Investigators said they believe Vasquez owns the accounts that control the remainder of Bitcoin.
Investigators said Vasquez withdrew nearly $9,400 from Bitcoin ATMs during four visits between January 25, 2021 and February 1, 2021.
Vasquez was booked into the Dallas County Jail on Tuesday. The amount of the bail has not yet been determined and it is not clear if she has a lawyer.