MILWAUKEE -- A man and woman from Michigan are accused of identity theft, but their alleged scheme landed them in custody at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. The accused are Dallal Farha, 38, of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Robert Martin, 35, of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Farha and Martin face the following criminal charges (ten counts in all):
- Unauthorized use of personal identifying information or documents, as a party to a crime (two counts against each defendant)
- Financial transaction card - forgery, as a party to a crime (three counts against each defendant)
According to the criminal complaint, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines found a lost wallet on the jetway to a plane that was being boarded on Thursday, June 6. The complaint says the "flight attendant looked inside the wallet to find identification so that he could return the wallet." However, the wallet contained "multiple identity cards in multiple names." The flight attendant handed the wallet to a Southwest customer representative who, in turn, handed the wallet to a Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy.
When the deputy searched the wallet, he found a Pennsylvania driver's license with Martin's picture but a different name -- and a Michigan driver's license with Martin's name. The deputy also indicated the wallet "held multiple credit and gift cards in various names other than Robert Martin."
Two deputies boarded the plane and arrested Martin -- who stated his name was "John Smith." Farha was apparently seated next to Martin on the plane. Deputies removed Farha too -- and she "denied knowing defendant Martin." The complaint indicates as "the deputies escorted the defendants to the sheriff's airport substation for questioning, defendant Martin told defendant Farha words to the effect: 'Don't say anything, babe. They have nothing on us.'"
A fingerprint analysis of Martin and Farha showed Martin "has an extensive record for fraud related crimes and is currently on federal probation." Farha's analysis showed she "has an extensive record for fraud related crimes" and "two active arrest warrants from the State of Florida."
Martin and Dallal each made their initial appearances in court on Tuesday, June 11. Both are being held on $25,000 cash bond -- and have a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday, June 17.
A TSA spokesperson issued the following statement on this case:
"The circumstances surrounding this incident remain under review, and TSA is cooperating with law enforcement on the ongoing investigation. However, all passengers, along with their belongings, are physically screened through a TSA security checkpoint before boarding an aircraft."