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Police say Air Force poser stole $500,000

May. 3, 2009 - 02:01PM   |   Last Updated: May. 3, 2009 - 02:01PM  |  
Isaac McCrumby, 29, used a fake Air Force ID to cash bogus checks, police say. He was arrested on federal fraud charges in Texas.
Isaac McCrumby, 29, used a fake Air Force ID to cash bogus checks, police say. He was arrested on federal fraud charges in Texas. (COURTESY OF THE EULESS POLICE DEPARTMENT)
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A man police identify as Isaac McCrumby leaves a bank dressed in camouflage "ABUs." (COURTESY OF THE EULESS POLICE DEPARTMENT)

On April 3, police say, Isaac E. McCrumby strolled into a Target in El Paso, Texas.

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On April 3, police say, Isaac E. McCrumby strolled into a Target in El Paso, Texas.

He browsed the electronics section and picked up two iPods and a DVD player; when it came time to pay, police said, he reached into his uniform pocket, pulled out his Air Force ID and wrote two checks.

The name on the ID was Kenneth Stewart; the money belonged to a woman from New York.

McCrumby took his bags and strolled out the door, authorities said, into a warm and cloudless afternoon.

Texas and federal authorities claim the shopping trip was another day at the office for the unemployed and unsigned R&B singer who never spent a day in blue.

McCrumby made his living by donning rumpled camouflage with no name tape, rank or insignia and passing bogus checks and credit cards, according to officers and police documents.

In the two years McCrumby had posed as an Air Force reservist, authorities estimate, he had stolen $500,000.

McCrumby told Air Force Times he hasn't done anything wrong.

Imposter extraordinaire?

McCrumby, according to the authorities, used stolen bank and credit card information to pass bad checks nationwide.

With a fake military ID and a camouflage uniform, McCrumby went into businesses and passed checks and credit cards to the tune of sometimes $20,000 a month before being arrested in early April and admitting his actions to police, according to a search warrant affidavit.

"He had 4,000 names and account numbers," said Lt. John Williams with the police department in Euless, a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Police also say they found an unregistered and fully loaded AK47 in his office.

On April 8, Euless police arrested McCrumby on three felony charges: fraudulent use of identification information, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of forged government documents.

McCrumby was released from Tarrant County jail April 11 after posting a $70,000 bond.

A female accomplice

Two Euless police affidavits, signed by Detective Brian Brennan, for warrants to search McCrumby's home and office detail the police case.

Authorities first got wise after a Bank of America internal investigator notified them that $20,000 was missing from 20 accounts that had been handled at a Countrywide Financial office in Fort Worth.

The investigator traced the accounts back to Kimberly Crawford, 26, a customer service representative who admitted to selling account numbers to McCrumby.

Crawford would jot down the account information from service calls and give McCrumby 30 to 40 numbers in return for about $1,000. Crawford told police that McCrumby then created fake credit cards with a card skimmer, a device that wrote over the magnetic data strip on Wal-Mart gift cards and prepaid Visa cards.

Then McCrumby donned his pseudo-uniform and passed himself off as Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Stewart, an Air Force reservist. He cashed forged checks at Wal-Marts and Targets in El Paso and Las Cruces, N.M., police said.

McCrumby "was probably using the military ID cards as a second form of ID to help facilitate his fraudulent activity," Special Agent Matt Miller, with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, said in one of the affidavits.

Brennan, the detective who signed the affidavits, followed up on two April 3 checks used at the Target in El Paso.

Surveillance video showed a man "wearing an Army-style uniform" use two stolen account numbers to buy two iPods and a DVD player, Brennan wrote. The "male wearing the fatigues is McCrumby."

A setup?

McCrumby is adamant that he's not the man who police are looking for.

"I don't know what they're trying to get together," he said. "I didn't make that money like that."

McCrumby describes himself as an R&B singer who ran a small studio in Arlington, Texas, and now is being accused of crimes he didn't commit.

"They just have the wrong person," he said. "By the end of this investigation the true person will be stated."

McCrumby said the account numbers and the AK47 in his office, raided by police, were not his. They belonged to others who worked in his studio and were stored there "because mine was the only one with a lock on it."

McCrumby admitted to being in prison in Arkansas, but was vague on the details.

Since being let out, McCrumby's "been trying to get signed" by a record company, he said.

MyPage

Clues to McCrumby's lifestyle as a hard-luck crooner litter his MySpace page.

From his studio, he recorded atmospheric R&B seduction ballads under the handle "Sicc," with the titles "girl please" and "big trucc chevrolet."

Police say he funded his music hobby with his ill-gotten cash.

Judging by the contents of his MySpace pictures, McCrumby was able to finance a lifestyle filled with Vegas vacations, tricked-out SUVs, Cadillacs and jewelry.

One photo gallery has almost 50 pictures of McCrumby in a Vegas hotel room with captions that read "fresh to def," "eyes for the haters" and, posing in front of a mirror, "no theres not to [sic] of me ............. sorry ladies."

On a post to a blog linked to his site, a friend listed as "Darius C" describes McCumbry as "Makin dem fake checks."

Movin' in

After Crawford, the Countrywide employee, admitted to her role in the fraud, authorities moved on McCrumby's storefront studio April 8.

Besides the AK47, police and federal agents found thousands of dollars in high-end recording gear and expensive instruments; a stack of fake checks made out to Kenneth and Kimberly Stewart, the names on the fake military IDs; 160 counterfeit money orders; two credit card skimmers; four fake military IDs; and hundreds of account numbers, records show.

What they didn't find: the uniform.

The police went to McCrumby's house in Fort Worth.

No one was home, so the police broke down the door.

Police found more electronics and impounded them — flat-screen TVs, video game consoles and workout gear.

They also found a large hole in the master bedroom wall.

"There was severe damage to the walls in the master bedroom and the master bathroom because someone removed a large floor safe," the affidavit says.

Police theorize whoever moved the safe threw a 45-pound weight at the wall to get to the safe, cut the bolts that held it to the floor and wheeled it out.

Officers didn't find a uniform, but on the floor next to a child's jacket was the camouflaged hat that looks like the one the man was wearing on the surveillance video.

Damage assessment

As of April 30, McCrumby was facing state charges in Texas but he likely will also face federal charges because of the allegations he passsed bad checks in other states, said Williams, the police officer.

McCrumby averaged $600 a check over the 500 transactions they know of so far, authorities said.

As to the extent of the alleged damage, no one knows for sure.

"More investigation is need[ed] on the other suspects and personal information that was seized," Brennan, the detective, wrote in an affidavit.

"There were thousands of account numbers as well as identities compromised in this scheme."

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