Tampa Woman Sentenced to 8 Years on Fraud Charges
A Tampa woman has been sentenced to 8 years in federal prison on various fraud charges. Those include bank fraud, credit card fraud, tax fraud, and aggravated identity theft. She was also ordered to pay nearly $350,000 in restitution. The defendant was caught in possession of more than 1,500 stolen identities in February of 2018. The defendant used the stolen personal information to commit bank fraud, tax fraud, and credit card fraud. According to documents presented by prosecutors, the defendant used the stolen information to manufacture counterfeit checks in the name of various businesses.
The defendant paid others to receive the checks and recruited individuals for the purpose of committing this fraud. The total amount stolen is believed to be somewhere in the range of $600,000.
She also used the stolen identities to receive fraudulent tax refunds. The defendant was able to defraud the government into disbursing about $27,000 in stolen tax refunds. She had attempted to cash 56 refunds totaling over $300,000 before she was caught.
The defendant is also accused of setting up credit card accounts with the stolen identities of her victims. She and a co-conspirator used the stolen identities to make purchases of $215,000. Her co-conspirator was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison.
Fraud charges and defense
This particular defendant faced several counts of fraud. In most cases, fraud charges are filed by the federal government. This is a bad thing if you’re a defendant. Federal charges carry mandatory minimum sentences and can be much longer than similar charges filed at the state level.
In many cases, the length of the sentence is related to the amount of money stolen. While most fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, most defendants won’t be sentenced to 20 years. It depends heavily on how much money was stolen, the number of victims in the case, and the sophistication of the scheme used to defraud.
In this case, the defendant was charged with stealing over $600,000 from the federal government and various victims. She had the stolen personal information of 1,500 individuals and involved others in her scheme to defraud. Her 8-year sentence reflects the amount of money that was stolen and the large number of individuals involved in the scheme.
Those charged with fraud face an uphill battle when it comes to defending themselves. In this case, the defendant and her co-conspirator pleaded guilty to the charges. Had they fought the case and lost, they could have been sentenced to a longer term in federal prison. The plea deal was negotiated to spare the state the cost of prosecuting the case.
Talk to a Federal Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of those charged with fraud offenses. Call our office today to speak with a seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorney and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.