News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - February 17, 2011

LUMBERTON WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ELABORATE MAIL FRAUD SCHEME

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today CYNTHIA DENISE SPIVEY, 56, of Lumberton, North Carolina, pled guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle presided over the hearing in which a Superseding Criminal Information was filed today.

According to the Superseding Information, from approximately July, 2009, to June, 2010, SPIVEY began receiving boxes of counterfeit corporate checks and money orders via United States Mail at her Lumberton, North Carolina, residence. The “pay to the order of” line of the checks was blank at the time the checks were delivered to SPIVEY.

SPIVEY corresponded with co-conspirators at an entity called Mend Fabrics who instructed SPIVEY on what names to write as payees on the counterfeit instruments and where to mail the counterfeit instruments.

The Superseding Information further alleges that SPIVEY then mailed the counterfeit instruments to numerous payees at various addresses throughout the United States which had been provided by co-conspirators. Enclosed in the mailings, SPIVEY included instructions to the payees on who to contact to obtain further instructions on what to do with the counterfeit instruments.

In return for receiving and converting the counterfeit instruments, the payees were informed that they could deduct a small transaction fee from the cashed funds and were led to believe they were receiving genuine checks and performing a lawful service. However, the payees were not performing a lawful service, and did not receive genuine checks and money orders. Since the payees often wired funds to Nigeria prior the discovery of the counterfeit nature of the instruments, the payees and banks suffered losses in the amount of the wired funds.

For SPIVEY’s participation in the scheme, she received a weekly stipend from Mend Fabrics via Western Union in the amount of approximately $200. At the time of a search of her residence on June 2, 2010, SPIVEY was found in possession of more than $378,000 in counterfeit instruments. The investigation showed that SPIVEY engaged in some 513 different mailings of counterfeit instruments totaling more than $1.2 million. It is currently unknown how many of the counterfeit instruments were negotiated.

At sentencing, scheduled for the May 16, 2011, term of court, SPIVEY faces up to five years’ imprisonment followed by up to three years’ supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Lumberton Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney William Gilmore represented the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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