Prominent Smithfield Businesswoman Pleads Guilty
NORFOLK, Va. – Linda T. Rowland, 60, of Smithfield, Va., pleaded guilty today to a three-count criminal information charging her with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis. Sentencing has been set for November 1, 2010. Rowland faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years in prison on the aggravated identity theft counts.
According to the statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Rowland and her husband owned and operated the Rowland Equipment Company in Smithfield, Virginia for over 30 years. The company was primarily involved in the sale and maintenance of tractors, farming equipment and other outdoor power equipment. The company also assisted customers in obtaining financing for equipment purchases. From August 2000 through August 2009, Rowland falsified loan agreements to obtain money from several financial services companies. To do so, she used the names and personal information of customers and other members of her small community to complete loan agreements for the supposed purchase of equipment from her business. She used the names and personal information of over 30 individuals to obtain more than 80 loans in excess of $1.7 million.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police and the Smithfield Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Katherine Lee Martin is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.