FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
APRIL 9, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“WIG LADY” PLEADS GUILTY IN SCHEME TO
WITHDRAW FUNDS FROM VICTIMS’ BANK ACCOUNTS
Identity Theft Requires Mandatory Additional Two Years in Federal Prison
Greenbelt, Maryland - Jacqueline Elaine Belim, age 46, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft arising out of a scheme to defraud banks and obtain money from account holders, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Anyone who considers using someone else’s name in a fraud scheme should be on notice that there is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison for identity fraud, in addition to the sentence for the fraud offense,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Identity fraud is a growing problem that requires a strong response from law enforcement.”
According to the plea agreement, from June to October 2006, Belim and others involved in the scheme pickpocketed unsuspecting victims in order to steal credit cards, checks, account numbers, driver’s licenses and social security cards. They then used the stolen personal information to impersonate the victims and take money from the victims’ bank accounts located in Maryland and Washington, D.C. On some occasions, Belim and others involved in the scheme impersonated the victims, using wigs, glasses and other accessories to more closely resemble the victim. On other occasions, Belim and others altered identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, by replacing the victims’ photographs with their own. Belim typically defrauded several banks on the same day, using the account information she learned from the first bank transaction in subsequent bank transactions. Belim withdrew money from a victim’s account, or deposited checks stolen from one victim into another victim’s bank account from which she immediately withdrew the deposited money.
Officers searched Belim’s residence on October 3, 2006 and seized over 15 counterfeit or stolen access devices. The scheme involved 10 or more victims and resulted in losses between $10,000 and $30,000.
Belim faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for bank fraud, and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence received, followed by one year of supervised release for aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for July 11, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Montgomery County Department of Police, and the U.S. Secret Service Metro Area Fraud Task Force including the U.S. Secret Service, and Boston Police Department. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Glatfelter and Gina Simms, who are prosecuting the case.