Robin Ann Champion Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on September 21, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, ROBIN ANN CHAMPION (now BOLTON), a 45-year-old resident of Hillard, Florida, pled guilty to mail fraud. Sentencing has been set for December 21, 2011. She is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In 2007, CHAMPION agreed to help a man from Nigeria known as John James, or John Due Love, complete a fraud scheme in the United States. Her role was to forward fraudulent WalMart money orders and American Express checks to various persons in the United States who were instructed to cash the fraudulent instruments and forward the money via wire minus 10% to John James and persons associated with him in Nigeria.
In September of 2007, Federal Express intercepted a package from Nigeria addressed to CHAMPION that contained blatantly fraudulent monetary instruments.
Federal Express later intercepted packages from CHAMPION to victims in the United States containing fraudulent monetary instruments including counterfeit WalMart money orders.
After Federal Express began intercepting packages to and from CHAMPION, she switched to using United Parcel Service to ship packages containing fraudulent monetary instruments.
In October of 2008, an agent from the Postal Inspection Service interviewed CHAMPION at her home. The agent apprised CHAMPION of the fraudulent nature of the instruments she was sending to various victims in the United States. She was told to stop, and she assured the agent that she would.
In 2009, CHAMPION began to send out checks from the accounts of other persons that she forged in their names. Like the fraudulent money grams sent out in 2007, the forged checks were sent to various victims who were instructed to cash the checks, keep a small percentage, and forward the money to John James or other persons operating the fraud scheme in Nigeria and elsewhere.
The United States contacted numerous potential victims. Some of them successfully cashed the forged checks. In those cases, the United States matched the original copy of the forged checks to carbon copies found in CHAMPION's home.
Many other potential victims who received forged checks and fraudulent money orders from CHAMPION never negotiated them, or even attempted to do so.
On or about March 9, 2009, CHAMPION forged a check on an account held by Holly Brink. CHAMPION mailed the forged check via Federal Express from Montana to Yayoi Addison in Hawaii. Addison cashed the check that CHAMPION forged in the amount of $3,253.
After Addison forwarded the money to John James and his associates, her bank informed her that the check was fraudulent and that she was liable for the entire amount.
CHAMPION faces possible penalties of 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.