Between the dates of September 02, 2020, and November 17, 2020, the City of West University Place Police Department received thirty-two reports from residents of a subject opening credit card accounts at Home Depot stores in the Houston area. This subject used the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of multiple West University Place residents without their knowledge or consent to obtain these credit cards. The West University Place Police Department initiated an investigation in each of these cases. As a result of the investigations and with the assistance of the Home Depot fraud division, the suspect was identified as John Carl Sutterley (64). Investigators discovered he has a history of committing similar criminal acts with numerous prior arrests for fraud and theft that span more than twenty years.
Harris County Court records indicate that John Carl Sutterley was arrested and charged with a similar type of fraud in September 2018, where he opened credit card accounts with other people’s names at Lowes stores throughout the Houston area. This case was tried in the Harris County District Court 177th under Judge Robert Johnson. Court records show this case was dismissed because a plea deal was made and he was convicted on a lesser theft case and sentenced to thirteen months in State Jail on December 06, 2019, but given credit for three hundred and thirty days on the sentence. He was released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville on February 07, 2020.
Sutterley was charged again in April 2020, in both Harris and Fort Bend Counties, for committing equipment thefts from Lowes stores. He received a twenty-five hundred dollar bond in Harris County after a high bond was requested by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was made to the court due to his past criminal cases. His case is currently being tried in the 337th Harris County District Court under Judge Herb Ritchie. Court records state that Sutterley has bond conditions restricting him from entering Lowes stores. However, he is now using Home Depot stores to continue committing fraud, with his most recent victims being residents of West University Place.
On November 13, 2020, the West University Place Police Department filed a 1st-degree felony charge of Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information on defendant John Carl Sutterley. An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual may also be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The West University Place Police Department urges residents to stay vigilant during the holiday season. Protect yourself by checking your credit card statements often for suspicious activity and clearing your mailboxes out daily to prevent stolen information. If you feel that you have been a victim of identity theft, contact the West University Place Police Department at, 713-668-0330 and your financial institution immediately.