Tallassee Woman Faces Federal Charges for Defrauding Online Shoppers
Montgomery, Alabama- On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 42 year old Tanya Lee English (a/k/a Tonya Roberts), from Tallassee, Alabama, was arrested on federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced A. Clark Morris, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
According to court documents, it is alleged that English orchestrated a scheme to defraud numerous individuals and businesses using the popular online marketplaces Craigslist and eBay. She carried out the scheme by posting ads on those two websites that listed high-end baby strollers such as “Uppababy Vista” and “Bugaboo Donkey” for sale at prices far below their retail value. English would include her contact information and a brief description of the items, but unknown to the buyers, she did not actually have the strollers to sell.
Buyers were required to pay for the strollers using PayPal accounts that were either created in her name, or accounts she created using the stolen identities of unsuspecting individuals. After a buyer deposited money into one of English’s PayPal accounts for the purchase of a stroller, nothing was shipped and she would have no further contact with the buyer. According to the indictment, payments received by English from her victims ranged from $300 - $725. PayPal would eventually refund the purchaser’s money because they were the victim of a fraudulent transaction. It is further alleged that English used the money deposited in the accounts she controlled by transferring the funds onto prepaid credit cards and then making ATM withdrawals or purchasing other merchandise.
The charges alleged are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If found guilty, the defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and a minimum of 2 years for each of the two aggravated identity theft counts. She will also be subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and the payment of restitution to the victims.
The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Tallassee Police Department, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) investigated this case, with assistance from PayPal’s Global Asset Protection Team investigators. Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson is prosecuting this case.