Serial Fraudster Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Nicole Jenise Stevenson, age 31, of Baltimore, today to three years in prison, followed by nine months of home detention as part of five years of supervised release, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Bennett also sentenced Stevenson to 18 months in prison for violating the supervised release from her previous fraud conviction, to be served concurrently with the three year sentence imposed today. Judge Bennett ordered Stevenson to pay restitution of $ 24,944.42.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Lisa Quinn of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; William Henry, Chief of the U.S. Probation Office; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and U.S. Marshal Johnny Hughes.
According to her plea agreement, on August 17, 2007, Judge Bennett sentenced Stevenson to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On July 24, 2009, Stevenson resumed her period of supervised release after an initial revocation. Along with standard conditions of supervision, such as the prohibition against violating any federal, state or local laws, Stevenson was prohibited from opening any new accounts without the approval of her probation officer.
On or about June 29, 2009, Stevenson opened a personal checking account at Woodforest National Bank at the Wal-Mart in Cockeysville, Maryland, where she was employed. The account was opened without any money being deposited, based upon her employment at the Wal-Mart. From July through September 2009, Stevenson wrote checks on this account, although she had never deposited any money into it. Stevenson opened or re-opened additional accounts at two other banks, obtaining and writing checks on those accounts, even though she never made any legitimate deposits in those accounts. Stevenson did not have the approval of her probation officer to open any of these accounts.
On October 20, 2010, Stevenson had her initial appearance on the indictment returned by the grand jury in this case as well as on the on the violation of her supervised release. Stevenson was released on the same conditions, with her probation officer handling her supervision.
On March 22, 2011, Stevenson opened a new checking account in the name of “Nicole Taylor” using the social security number of “HH,” all without the knowledge or consent of her supervising probation officer, or “HH”. After making an initial deposit of $350.00, Stevenson immediately withdrew $300, ordered checks on the account and proceeded to write over $2,000 in checks on the account. This account was closed by the bank on July 5, 2011, with an overdraft amount of $2,260. During this same time period Stevenson opened a credit account with Shaws without the knowledge and approval of her probation officer. That account was charged off in July, 2011, with an outstanding balance of $2072.
On July 8, 2011, Stevenson’s probation officer made an unannounced home visit and left a letter instructing her to report in person at the probation office on July 12, 2011, for which she failed to appear. At a subsequent meeting on August 1, 2011, Stevenson denied opening any new accounts when she was questioned by her probation officer. On August 8, 2011, the probation officer attempted another home visit and left a letter instructing Stevenson to appear for a meeting at the probation office on August 22, 2011. Stevenson did not appear for that meeting and an arrest warrant was issued for Stevenson on September 12, 2011. A trial date was set for October 24, 2011. When Stevenson could not be located on the arrest warrant and did not respond to either her supervising officer or her attorney, a new trial date was scheduled - and subsequently rescheduled on several occasions - when Stevenson could not be located and did not respond to her supervising officer or her attorney.
On November 4, 2011, and again on July 19, 2012, Stevenson used the name “Tiffany Lawson”, and the date of birth and social security account number of “TR,” to apply for an apartment. She provided a counterfeit Maryland driver’s license with her picture, the name “Tiffany Lawson,” and the date of birth and social security number of “TR.” On February 27, 2013, Stevenson was located on the outstanding arrest warrant, residing in yet another apartment.
During her activities from July 2009 through February 2013, Stevenson obtained goods, services and extensions of credit of approximately$26,288.70, and caused losses to or used the identities of between 10 and 50 financial institutions, businesses and individuals.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Probation Office, Baltimore County Police Department and U.S. Marshals for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera Fine, who is prosecuting the case.