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April 23, 2009

DENTAL ASSISTANT PLEADS GUILTY TO MAIL FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT CHARGES

(HOUSTON) – Tara Monique Coleman, 40, a dental assistant, has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Indicted in July 2008 in a six-count indictment charging her with four counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, Coleman pleaded guilty this morning before Judge Keith P. Ellison to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Accepting Coleman’s guilty pleas, the court convicted her of the federal offenses and has set sentencing for July 10, 2009. Coleman faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for the mail fraud conviction and a mandatory two-year minimum sentence on the aggravated identity theft conviction, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed for the mail fraud conviction.

The investigation leading to the charges against Coleman and her conviction today was triggered when a patient of the Sugarland office where Coleman worked as a dental assistant realized she had been a victim of identity theft and reported the information to law enforcement. The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) initiated an investigation and determined that Coleman acquired the patient’s Social Security number and used it to purchase of two Chevrolet Tahoe vehicles on two different dates from Allen Samuels Chevrolet, resulting in two financed purchase totaling approximately $83,000. Postal Inspectors also determined that the patient’s identity had been compromised in connection with four additional lines of credit resulting in additional losses. To date, Coleman has been identified in connection with a total of approximately $112,691 in fraudulent credit cards and installment loans using the patient’s Social Security number.

Coleman’s bond was revoked by the court yesterday following a revocation hearing. She will remain in custody without bond pending her sentencing hearing.

The investigation leading to Coleman’s indictment and arrest was conducted by agents with the USPIS. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Tammie Y. Moore.

 

 

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