Massive Identity Theft Operation Uncovered in Nye County

Mugshots of 7 identity thieves

Seven people were arrested this month in connection with an identity theft and check forgery ring which impacted approximately 200 victims in Pahrump and Las Vegas, according to the Nye County Sheriff’s office.

Authorities first became aware of the ring when one of the women from the identity theft ring, , 36-year-old Diane Lee Lake, attempted to cash two fake checks on November 7 at a Pahrump casino. This lead to police opening an investigation which they called “Operation Super Lake.”

Diane Lake Mugshot

Diane Lee Lake

Police arrested Lake, 36 as well as one of her associates, 41-year-old Christopher Raymond Biddy on March 7. Detectives reported that when they searched Lake’s home, they found evidence of an identity theft scheme that included stolen mail and personal records as well as altered and forged checks. Also found during the search was property from several unsolved burglaries. The evidence collected by detectives at Lake’s home comprised of documents involving at least 75 victims.

David Barger, 30, was arrested as he was attempting to leave Lake’s home. He has been charged with unlawful possession of a concealed weapon.

Aside from Lake, Biddy, and Barger there were several others arrested in connection with the investigation.

Denico Yelvington Mugshot

Denico Yelvington

Denico Yelvington, 25, was arrested after authorities learned that he was cashing fake checks that had been forged at Lake’s Pahrump residence.

Police were able to obtain a second search warrant that they served on March 8, which led to the arrest of 37-year-old Tia Diane Dircio, who was arrested and charged with mail and identity theft. Additionally, Dircio has been charged with check fraud and forgery.

Authorities were able to obtain another warrant on March 11 which led to the arrest of Jeffrey Lee Gavalas, 54, and Jennie Lee Tedford, 30, on charges including forgery, possession of stolen property, fraud and drug possession.

While conducting interviews with those arrested, authorities also learned about a home burglary that involved two juveniles.

Police arrested Kameron Varden, who has been accused of assisting one of the juveniles cover up the theft, which occurred at the home of Joey Provenza. Varden is also being looked at by authorities in connection to charges of child abuse, possession of a stolen firearm and obstructing a police officer.

Detectives are still on the search for victims. If you believe you may have been a victim, you are urged to call the Nye County Detectives Office at 775-751-7000.

Unfortunately, while it’s not possible to completely prevent identity theft and credit fraud, you can minimize the chances of having your identity stolen by following these 5 ways to protect yourself from identity theft. If you believe that you’re already a victim of identity theft, make sure to do a criminal background check on yourself which can help verify whether the thieves have used your identity for nefarious activities.

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