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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JULY 30, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER DEPT. OF REVENUE EMPLOYEE

PLEADS GUILTY TO $80,000 FRAUD


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two women – one of whom is a former employee of the Mo. Department of Revenue – pleaded guilty in federal court today to a fraud conspiracy that involved stealing the identities of other persons and using them to provide cell phone calls to state prison inmates.


          Erica Daniece Kelley, 28, and Brenda McKay Adams, 33, both of Jefferson City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright this morning to the charge contained in a May 31, 2007, federal indictment.


            Kelley was an employee of the Missouri Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Bureau until January 2003. In this position, she had access to identification of Motor Vehicle Bureau customers, which she delivered to co-conspirators during the scheme that began in January 2002. Kelley admitted that she provided conspirators with personal information from 10 to 15 individuals. Adams participated in the conspiracy during 2005 and 2006 by using her home address to have telephone lines installed and cell phones delivered, all of which had been ordered as part of the fraud scheme.


            By pleading guilty today, Kelley and Adams admitted that they used stolen identity information from mid-Missourians in order to set up phone service so co-conspirators could communicate with inmates at state corrections facilities.The fraud scheme resulted in more than $80,000 in telephone charges as well as additional losses for credit card accounts that were opened using stolen identities.


            According to today’s plea agreements, conspirators used identity information, such as names, birthdates and Social Security numbers, from residents of mid-Missouri to set up multiple accounts for cell phones and telephone service. Those cell phones and phone lines were then used so inmates at state corrections facilities in central Missouri could communicate with the conspirators and others outside prison. Those cell phones and phone lines were also used by conspirators for other personal use.


            Prisoners in the Missouri Department of Corrections are allowed to make calls while confined, but have to have a method to pay for the calls. Often this is done by making collect calls. Conspirators set up phone lines and purchased cell phones using the stolen identities, according to the plea agreements, so that inmates could make the collect calls. The calls from the prison would then be automatically directed and forwarded from that local number to a cell phone. Generally the fraudulently-opened telephone services would continue until the telephone company canceled the service for non-payment.


            Under federal statutes, Kelley and Adams could each be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html