REPEAT IDENTITY THIEF SENTENCED TO THREE AND A HALF YEARS IN PRISON
Defendant Used Stolen Mail from More than 50 Victims to Commit Bank Fraud
SHANNON KRISTINA EDWARDS, 33, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 42 months in prison and five years of supervised release and more than $16,000 in restitution for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. Under the Aggravated Identity Theft statute passed by Congress in 2004, an additional 24 month prison sentence is to run consecutive to the sentence on an underlying conviction – in this case for Bank Fraud. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik told EDWARDS her crime “was extensive and awful for people who were effected.”
EDWARDS was indicted in February 2006, in connection with her scheme to steal mail and commit bank fraud. Using identifying information from the mail, EDWARDS opened bank accounts at various branches of Boeing Employees Credit Union and other banks. EDWARDS would inflate the balances on the accounts using counterfeit or stolen checks, then she would withdraw cash from the accounts before BECU discovered the checks that had been deposited were no good. According to the plea agreement reached in August 2006, EDWARDS admitted to stealing the checks and identities of more than 50 victims. In more than 25 instances, EDWARDS submitted fraudulent mail forwarding requests on victims’ addresses so that victims’ mail was delivered right to mail boxes she had rented. EDWARDS continued her scheme even as she faced trial on state charges for identity theft.
In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa noted that identity theft can create problems for victims for years. In addition, he wrote in his sentencing memo that EDWARDS method of essentially hijacking victims’ mail “inevitably caused at least short term problems for her victims as they failed to receive dozens of pieces of important mail including letters from banks, schools and medical facilities.”
EDWARDS was investigated in this case by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Mercer Island Police Department and the Seattle Police Department.
EDWARDS was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa as part of the working group on ID Theft at the United States Attorney’s Office. For additional information please call Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.