PETER J. DONNELLY
A few years ago I was a lead investigator on a widespread case of identity theft and related crimes in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The case spanned several local jurisdictions and affected more than a hundred victims. It would eventually involve the combined resources of several federal agencies and local police departments, and would touch the lives of celebrities and everyday citizens. The investigation would wend its way through the streets of Dallas into the unusual world of transvestite beauty pageants. It would expose the persistent activities of the most desperate criminals and demonstrate that extensive fraud can occur in the streets just as easily as in corporate boardrooms. While the losses were not as staggering as those attributed to recent Ponzi schemes, they were nonetheless economically devastating to the victims involved.
Norman Vincent Hardeman, James Untermeyer and Teresa Newman were part of two loose-knit groups in the inner city of Dallas. All the members of the groups, with one exception, had attended Skyline High School in Dallas and had grown up with each other. Most, including Hardeman and Unter-meyer, were convicted felons with criminal records that involved violence. Newman was one of the few otherwise innocent accomplices who were duped or forced into abetting a criminal scheme.
In addition to being a seasoned con, Hardeman was also a locally well-known transvestite who had made a ...