Topeka Woman Sentenced In Check Fraud Scheme
TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka woman has been sentenced to federal prison for her role in a check fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Crystale Thomas, 36, Topeka, was sentenced to 45 months and ordered to pay more than $31,600 in restitution.
Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. In her plea, Thomas admitted she and her co-defendants created counterfeit checks and identifications cards using bank account information and identities belonging to real people. Thomas obtained copies of checks that customers had written to Continental Professional Laundry. An employee of the company allegedly provided the copies in return for drugs, gasoline and groceries.
Thomas and a co-defendant used the copies of the checks to create counterfeit checks produced using a personal computer, blank check paper and a software program for printing checks. The counterfeit checks contained customers' names, addresses, routing numbers and bank account numbers. Thomas and a co-defendant passed the counterfeit checks at Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, K-Mart, Dillons and Kohl's.
Co-defendant Ronald Joe Schotts is set for sentencing Oct. 19.
Co-defendant Joann Stovall is set for sentencing Oct. 26.
Grissom commended the Topeka Police Department, the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Secret Service and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.