FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
JULY 11, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“WIG LADY” SENTENCED TO OVER 5 YEARS IN SCHEME TO
WITHDRAW FUNDS FROM VICTIMS’ BANK ACCOUNTS
Identity Theft Requires Mandatory Additional Two Years in Federal Prison
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr.
sentenced Jacqueline Elaine Belim, age 47, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, today to 61 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release for 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. Judge Williams also ordered Belim to pay restitution of $16,500 to the victim banks.
“Ms. Belim’s sentence includes a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft, in addition to 37 months in prison for the fraud offense,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Anyone who considers using someone else’s name in a fraud scheme should be on notice that these stiff federal penalties will be imposed to stem the growing problem of identity fraud.”
According to the plea agreement, from June to October 2006, Belim and others 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 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, such as credit cards. The scheme involved 10 or more victims and resulted in losses between $10,000 and $30,000.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised 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 for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Glatfelter and Gina Simms, who prosecuted the case.