kc woman sentenced for identity theft, obstruction of justice
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for her role in an identity theft and bank fraud scheme and for obstruction of justice.
Margie P. Shephard, 46, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Shephard to forfeit to the government $40,000, which was derived from the proceeds of the offense, and to pay $8,918 in restitution.
On Feb. 23, 2010, Shephard pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud and to aggravated identity theft. Shephard also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
Shephard admitted that, between June 29, 2007, and Jan. 2, 2008, she stole identity information from both individuals and institutions, which was used to obtain fraudulent identity documents and to open bank accounts in the names of individual victims. Conspirators also created counterfeit payroll checks in the names of institutional victims. Shephard used the individual bank accounts in a scheme to deposit, withdraw, and spend more than $30,000 obtained through the counterfeit payroll checks.
Shephard obtained financial information of institutional identity theft victims, including the Jackson County Jail, Crossroads Hospice and others. She used that information to produce counterfeit payroll checks. Between June 29 and Aug. 7, 2007, Shephard deposited five counterfeit payroll checks from those institutions totaling more than $6,600 into several bank accounts that were opened in the names of individual identity theft victims, from which she withdrew a total of $5,200.
When she was arrested on Aug. 7, 2007, Shephard was in possession of 71 counterfeit checks drawn upon various financial institutions totaling $32,700, as well as four driver’s licenses and other items in the names of identity theft victims.
Shephard also admitted that she provided false and misleading statements and evidence to federal law enforcement agents from April 2009 to January 2010. Shephard falsely alleged an ongoing identity theft scheme instigated by a federal government employee, hoping to persuade the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file a motion to reduce her sentence in her pending criminal case. Shephard obtained a continuance of that case from the court specifically to enable the government to pursue her false allegations. A grand jury investigated her allegations as she continued to provide false statements and physical evidence. Shephard also attempted to convince others to manufacture false evidence to support her allegations.
By providing false information, Shephard caused the U.S. Attorney’s Office to recuse itself from the investigation of her allegations, which were handled by the Office of the Inspector General and the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. The government spent substantial resources investigating Shephard’s allegations and determining that the alleged ongoing scheme involving a federal government employee did not, in fact, exist.
The conspiracy and identity theft case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Nelson. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Overland Park, Kan., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The obstruction case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and was investigated by the DOJ-Office of the Inspector General.