News and Press Releases

Pittsburgh Woman Pleads Guilty In Dwelling House Savings & Loan Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8 , 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - On Sept. 7, 2011, a resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Veronica Smith, 55, pleaded guilty to four counts before Senior United States District Judge Alan N. Bloch.

In connection with the guilty plea, Smith executed a scheme to defraud Dwelling House Savings and Loan (DHSL) of its assets using fraudulent ACH transactions. Smith opened a PayPal account and associated her DHSL bank account to the PayPal account. Using PayPal to initiate ACH transactions, she caused disbursements to be made from DHSL in amounts that far exceeded any balance she had in her accounts at DHSL. Those insufficient funds transactions were not rejected and reversed by DHSL personnel.  Smith also used various bank and credit card accounts of others for the same purpose. The loss attributed to Smith is at least $213,286.53. Smith also was charged with conspiracy to commit a money laundering transaction that derived from proceeds of bank fraud.

Judge Bloch scheduled sentencing for Jan. 5, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 50 years in prison, a fine of $1,250,000.00, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul E. Hull is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Veronica Smith.

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