FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
JUNE 14, 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 - Carol Silva, age 55, of Westbury, Massachusetts, 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.
“Identity fraud is a growing problem that requires a strong response from law enforcement,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Criminals who use someone else’s name in a fraud scheme need to know that they face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison for identity fraud, in addition to the sentence for the fraud offense.”
According to the plea agreement and other court documents, from March, 2006 to July 17, 2006, Silva used personal information obtained from stolen credit cards, checks, account numbers, driver’s licenses and social security cards to impersonate the victims and take money from the victims’ bank accounts located in Maryland and Washington, D.C. On some occasions, Silva impersonated the victims, using wigs, glasses and other accessories to more closely resemble the victim. On other occasions, Silva altered identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, by replacing the victims’ photographs with her own. Silva typically defrauded several banks on the same day, using the account information learned from the first bank transaction in subsequent bank transactions. Silva 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.
Silva 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 August 29, 2007 at 9:15 a.m.
In a related case, Jacqueline Belim, age 46, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the same charges on April 17, 2007 and is scheduled to be sentenced on 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.