Woman sentenced for stealing grandmother’s SSA benefits

A Birmingham woman was sentenced after pleading guilty to stealing social security benefits awarded to her grandmother—for more than two decades after she died.

Wendi D. Baldwin, 41, was sentenced to six months in prison and also six months of in-home detention, according to a news release from Joyce White Vance, the U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s northern district.

She pled guilty February to one count of theft of government property.

The benefits were deposited into Baldwin and her grandmother’s shared bank account from Jan. 1992 until July 2013, according to the plea agreement.

Her grandmother died in 1991.

The Social Security Administration became aware of the theft when it could not reach Baldwin’s grandmother after several attempts.

She was also ordered to forfeit $30,934 to the government and pay that much to the SSA

According to the release, Baldwin stole more than $155,000 in social security benefits, but the statute of limitations only allowed the government to recover five years’ worth of benefits.

A Birmingham woman was sentenced after pleading guilty to stealing social security benefits awarded to her grandmother—for more than two decades after she died.

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Police officer impersonator arrested on Capitol Grounds

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — A 54-year-old man was arrested Tuesday for impersonating a federal police officer on Capitol Grounds, Capitol police said.

Police arrested Darryl Sharp, 54, who has been arrested three times this year on Capitol Grounds. Sharp was previously arrested for unlawful entry at the Hart Senate Office Building and then was later arrested for simple assault on an officer.

Sharp was found yelling at the staff, demanding paperwork and claiming to be a federal police officer inside the Rayburn House Office Building, police said. All attempts to confirm Sharp’s claim of employment turned out negative.

Currently there is no stay-away order against Sharp, Capitol police said. Police say, Sharp was on the grounds earlier Tuesday morning as well.

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Shoplifting incident leads to felony identity theft charges

BELTON TX Aug 26 2015 — A Killeen woman was arraigned Thursday on a charge of fraudulent use of identifying information.

Jodi Marie Schimek, 28, of Killeen, was arrested Wednesday after police responded to 1400 Lowes Boulevard in Killeen.

According to an arrest affidavit, Schimek was caught on in-store cameras shoplifting at the location and, when police arrived, Schimek handed officers a New York driver’s license with another woman’s name.

Apparently not knowing the woman was Schimek, police said in the affidavit they arrested her and took her to the Killeen jail.

Later that day, the affidavit said, a New York woman called the Bell County Jail “and advised that a female who verbally identified herself as (name withheld) called and advised that a female in the Killeen jail was using her name and information and that a closer check by jail staff of the driver’s license provided by the female did not match the female in custody.”

The affidavit said the New York female identified herself and told jail staff she had not been to Texas for years and that Schimek did not have permission to use her ID.

Police later spoke with Schimek who admitted that she and the New York woman had been friends for years and that she previously had used the ID to buy cigarettes.

Schimek was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin, who gave her a $50,000 bond.

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7-11 clerks busted in alleged $82,000 lottery scam

SAN ANTONIO – Two gas station clerks are in hot water, accused of stealing thousands of dollars in a fake lottery scam.

Police said two employees at a northeast-side 7-11 cashed out thousands of dollars in lottery tickets. The only problem? They were all fake.

Derreain Cosby, 31, and Sarah Ramirez, 28, were arrested Tuesday night on theft charges.

According to arrest warrants, the two clerks at the Interstate 35 and Eisenhauer 7-11 cashed out more than $82,000 in fake lottery tickets.

Investigators said each time they would pretend a customer came in with a winning lottery ticket and they would pocket the money.

Police said this happened daily over a period of five months before a manager caught on.

Investigators said they also have video surveillance of the two in action.

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Financial Fraud

The Hair Show That Never Was
Two criminals were sentenced for a scheme that involved enlisting young women at shopping malls and other places to participate in a “hair show,” gaining access to their bank accounts, depositing phony checks in the accounts, and withdrawing funds before the banks realized the fraud.

Tamira Fonville’s job might be described as “recruiter.” For a time, she profited substantially by enlisting college-age women to participate in a hair show. The problem was, there never was any show, and everything about Fonville’s line of work was a fraud.

She and her partner—both of whom are now in prison—regularly traveled the Interstate 95 corridor from New York to Washington, D.C., visiting shopping malls and other places where young women were known to spend time.

Using a series of phony names, Fonville would interest the women in the hair show, offering to pay for their services. But to pay them, she said, she needed their debit card numbers and access to their accounts.

With that access, she would not simply clean out their accounts. Instead, her partner and mastermind of the scam, Ricardo Falana, would deposit bogus checks into the legitimate accounts, and then immediately begin withdrawing funds before the bank realized the fraud.

“It was a crazy, hit or miss scheme,” said Special Agent Sean Norman, who investigated the case from the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “But they did it at such a high volume that they made a lot of money for several years. There was approximately $600,000 in actual losses to banks and other financial institutions.”

On a typical recruiting trip, Fonville might talk with 20 or 30 women and would follow up with text messages using disposable phones whose numbers could not be traced. If she ended up with three or four willing participants, that was enough.

“Some took the hair show bait and handed over their debit cards and PINs,” Norman said. “Others who were skeptical got a different pitch,” he explained. “They were told: ‘I can make money appear in your account. You will get some money, I will get some money, and the bank won’t lose anything.’”

With access to legitimate accounts not tied to him, Falana deposited forged checks of up to $10,000 and then withdrew money before the bank realized the checks were bad. Many of the victims were coached to tell bank investigators that their debit cards had been stolen and their PINs were written on the cards.

“The majority of the account holders knew they were doing something fraudulent,” Norman said. “They thought they were going to get something out of it, but they got nothing.”

For a time, the money rolled in, and Fonville “got addicted to the lifestyle,” Norman said. According to court documents, between 2008 and 2013, Fonville personally benefited from the scheme to the tune of more than $230,000. She used some of the proceeds to pay for plastic surgery, the car loan on her $30,000 Chevrolet Camaro, and the $2,100 monthly rent on her New York apartment. She would later tell investigators she viewed the scam as a career.

Fonville also fraudulently obtained food stamps, Medicaid, and benefits from a New York child care program, and she received deferments on almost $100,000 in student loans because she claimed she had no income. But then she lied on her car loan application, stating she was an employee of Mesa Airlines and had a salary of $65,000 per year.

Eventually, some of the women whose accounts had been used came forward and told the truth. Norman was able to trace withdrawn funds to Fonville and Falana, and Falana was identified on surveillance video depositing what turned out to be bogus checks. Norman also used E-ZPass toll receipts to link the pair’s recruiting trips to account holders and subsequent fraudulent transactions on their accounts.

“After the pieces all fit together,” said Norman, who is a certified public account and specializes in financial fraud investigations, “their actions were highly predictable.”

Fonville was arrested in August 2014. She pled guilty the following month to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and three counts of bank fraud and was sentenced in April to 15 months in prison. Falana pled guilty to similar bank fraud charges in October 2014 and in February received an 80-month sentence.

In the end, Norman said, “they blew all the money and had nothing to show for it.”

- Press release

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12 Alleged Gang Members Charged in Fake Money Order Scheme

Twelve alleged gang members face fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges in connection with a federal indictment accusing them in a money order scheme at banks in the New York area and along the East Coast, authorities said Tuesday.

Eight of the 12 suspects were arrested early Tuesday during a raid at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville by Department of Homeland Security agents, U.S. Postal Inspectors and NYPD, officials say.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the case suggests that “members of street gangs, like the Van Dyke Money Gang, have expanded their criminal repertoire to include white collar crimes like bank fraud and identity theft.”

“Today’s arrests dismantle a gang that allegedly used bank fraud and identity theft to line their pockets with cash using a scheme that cost New York banks over $1.5 million dollars,” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Raymond J. Parmer Jr. added in a press release.

According to the indictment, the defendants fraudulently obtained blank postal and Western Union money orders and printed a specific dollar amount, usually under $1,000 on them. They allegedly recruited bank account holders and used their accounts to deposit the fake orders.

The defendants, allegedly members of the Van Dyke Money Gang, then withdrew the money from those accounts; they used more than 350 accounts for those purposes, the indictment alleges.

The scheme defrauded New York-area banks, as well as ones along the East Coast from Boston to Washington, D.C., out more than $1 million, authorities said.

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Georgia woman lands three years in federal prison for embezzling $500,000

The former office manager of Bec-Don Inc. was sentenced to serve three years and one month in federal prison for committing wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Ringgold, Ga.-based company.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Judy Elaine Henry, 50, of Lafayette, Ga., was the manager of Bec-Don’s office and was authorized to sign checks on Bec-Don’s account. From approximately 2006 through 2014, Henry embezzled more than $500,000 in company funds by writing checks payable to herself from Bec-Don’s account, and by making false entries in Bec-Don’s checkbook and accounting records to make it appear that the checks had been issued to pay legitimate company expenses.

Henry deposited some of the fraudulent checks into her personal account and then used her debit card to spend the stolen money.

Henry was sentenced to three years, one month in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $565,005.05. Henry was convicted on these charges on April 23 after she pleaded guilty.

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After 42 years on the run, North Carolina escapee captured in Franklin Co.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Franklin County man who escaped a North Carolina prison in 1972 turned himself into Kentucky authorities Monday after being on the run for more than four decades.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton confirmed Monday night the man who identified himself as Clarence David Moore is the same person identified by North Carolina Department of Public Safety records as escapee David Edward Moore.

Moore, 66, called the sheriff’s office around 4 p.m. to turn himself in, Melton said.

“I need to make this right and get through this,” the sheriff recalled Moore saying.

Melton said deputies took Moore to the Frankfort Regional Medical Center to be checked out before transferring him to the Franklin County Jail.

According to North Carolina Department of Public Safety prison records, Moore had been convicted of larceny in July 1967 and was 23 at the time of the reported escape from the former Polk Youth Institute in Butner, North Carolina on June 10, 1972.

The records show he was originally scheduled to be released from the facility June 1, 1978.

During his time on the run, Melton said, Moore was involved in a 2009 car accident in Franklin County but did not have any identification to verify his identity, allowing him to evade capture.

Melton said, as a result of now learning his true identity, deputies obtained a contempt of court arrest warrant in connection to that wreck.

Melton said Moore would be arraigned in court Tuesday morning. It’s unclear whether the existing escape charge would supersede the local charge.

“If he agrees to be extradited willingly, our extradition office will make arrangements to have him returned to NC to serve the remainder of his sentence,” North Carolina Department of Public Safety Spokesperson Keith Acree said in an email, “If he fights extradition, then a more complicated legal process begins to get him returned to NC.”

When calculated, there have been 15,654 days between Moore’s escape and capture.

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$600K worth of cocaine washes up on Destin beach

DESTIN, FL (WSFA) – A bale of cocaine worth $600,000 washed up on a beach in Destin, FL, over the weekend, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Beach safety personnel found the drugs in the surf behind a condominium complex on the Gulf of Mexico around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

The 21 kilos of cocaine was packaged into bricks and labeled “Adidas,” according to authorities.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to call 850-651-7400 or contact Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 850-863-TIPS, emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com, or Text “Tip214 plus your message” to CRIMES 274637.

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Public Corruption FBI Agent Helps Protect His Native American Community

When Special Agent Jeff Youngblood helped convict a corrupt public official from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma last year who was demanding bribes and kickbacks from contractors bidding on tribal construction projects, he felt more satisfaction than usual bringing a criminal to justice.

That’s because Youngblood is Native American and a member of the Choctaw tribe.

“My dad was born and raised in this area, and Oklahoma is where I was born and raised,” said Youngblood, who is assigned to the FBI’s Oklahoma City Division and works in the southeastern part of the state that is home to the Choctaw Nation.

“There aren’t many Native Americans who are special agents,” he said, “and I have yet to meet any that are working in Indian Country and are enrolled members of the tribe where they work. I think mine is a unique situation.”

It’s a situation Youngblood embraces. The Durant Resident Agency, where he is stationed with one other agent, has responsibility for a six-county area that covers much of the Choctaw Nation.

With a large casino resort complex in Durant—located only an hour’s drive from Dallas, Texas—the tribe is a major economic driver in the region, and many residents depend on it for their livelihood.

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