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Sharon L. Potter

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist


February 11, 2009

Former New Martinsville Care-Giver Sentenced
For Defrauding Elderly Couple Out of Approximately $70,000

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — A 67 year old New Martinsville, West Virginia, resident was sentenced today (February 11, 2009) in United States District Court in Wheeling by Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.

United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that CAROLYN LEE HOWELL was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $51,329.75. HOWELL entered a plea of guilty on October 22, 2008, to one count of devising a scheme using wire communications to defraud an elderly couple to obtain money and property from the victims between June 2006 and May 2007 in New Martinsville. As part of the scheme, HOWELL obtained access to an elderly couple’s (victims) home and personal information in the course of providing them in-home care services. HOWELL deposited convenience checks and balance transfers from the victims’ Discover credit card into her personal bank account. HOWELL also fraudulently applied for and obtained an American Express credit card (via a telephone call from Proctor, West Virginia, to Salt Lake City, Utah) using personal information from one of the victims and then transferred money from that card to the Discover card account. HOWELL further embezzled funds from the victims’ retirement and checking accounts. She also fraudulently applied for and obtained a lumber company credit account using personal information from the victims and the mailing address of her mother. As a result of her scheme to defraud, HOWELL caused total losses of approximately $70,000 to the victims.

As part of the conditions of HOWELL’s supervised release, she cannot engage in employment as a caregiver.

HOWELL is currently free on bond and will self-report to a designated federal institution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Cogar. The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, and the New Martinsville Police Department.


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