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Rip-Off Alert | Convicted con man: 'By me going to prison, it saved my life'

Dallas Tedford gives an honest and candid interview, showing a vicious drug habit sent him into a life of crime, but now he's speaking out to help others. (Photo provided)

Have you ever wondered why someone may become a con man or how they can rationalize their behavior?

One man explains how he exploited the mail stream to steal the identities of credit of innocent consumers.

Dallas Tedford gives an honest and candid interview, showing a vicious drug habit sent him into a life of crime, but now he's speaking out to help others.

Tedford says this drug addiction cost him almost $1,000 a week, so he turned to a life of crime — specifically personal checks.

“We went around to the richer neighborhoods, and we stole the U.S. Postal mail out of the mailbox gathering information, gather intelligence,” Tedford said.

“The flag up indicated that there was outgoing mail, which is usually a check to pay a phone bill, a check to pay electricity, a check to pay a car payment.”

Those checks held a wealth of personal information.

“You have access to those bank accounts, which you can alter the numbers on it; you can re-print your own checks,” Tedford said.

“They would have friends open up accounts and then have them deposit checks to those accounts,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Brendan Soennecken. “Withdraw as much money as they could the first or second day until the bank caught on to the fraud.”

One-thousand victims lost more than $70,000.

Tedford admits his drug problem helped him justify his actions — he felt the Portland banks were the only victims.

“They will report it as fraud,” Tedford said. “They were never going to lose no money, and everything at the end of the day everybody is happy. I get my money; they don't lose nothing.”

Once caught, Tedford admitted to his crimes, went to prison and has been clean for three years.

“If I didn't commit those crimes, I would have been out there still be using methamphetamine,” Tedford said. “I don't know if I would be dead; I don't know what kind of life I would be living right now, but by me going to prison, it saved my life.”

Tedford was sentenced and served more than four years in prison for ID theft and mail fraud charges. He is in the process of paying the $70,000 in restitution he owes the victims in this case.

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