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Trial Date Set for Champaign Couple Charged with Credit Card Fraud

December 11, 2009

Urbana, Ill. – A Champaign couple, Karen D. Dooley, 29, and her husband, Michael J. Jefferies, 32, were arraigned this afternoon in federal court in Urbana before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Both entered pleas of not guilty and were released pending trial scheduled on February 8, 2010. The two were charged with various federal criminal offenses related to credit card fraud in a seven-count indictment returned on Dec. 1, 2009, as announced by Jeffrey B. Lang, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

The grand jury charged Dooley with conspiracy to commit credit card fraud (one count), credit card fraud (one count), aggravated identity theft (three counts), mail fraud (one count) and food stamp fraud (one count). Jefferies is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment, Dooley was formerly employed at a Champaign area medical center. The indictment alleges that Dooley used her position as a transporter, which allowed her access to patients’ medical records, personal information and personal belongings, to fraudulently obtain credit cards from patients in 2007 and 2008 and use the credit cards to make purchases at area stores and via the Internet. Purchases from use of the fraudulently obtained credit cards allegedly totaled more than $6,800. Jefferies is charged with using one of the credit cards to make purchases at area stores. Dooley is further charged with applying for a credit card via the Internet using the personal information of a medical center patient. Dooley allegedly received the credit card, in the patient’s name, at Dooley’s home address. The indictment further alleges that Dooley committed food stamp fraud when she failed to report income from her employment, resulting in her receiving overpayment of more than $5,000 in food stamp benefits.

The charges were investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Champaign Police Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronda Holliman Coleman.

If convicted, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; credit card fraud carries a maximum penalty of 15 years and aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory term of two years in prison. The offenses of mail fraud and food stamp fraud each carry a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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