Baton Rouge Woman Sentenced to 75 Months in Federal Prison for Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft in Connection with Fraudulent Scheme to Obtain Unemployment Benefits
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that U.S. District Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced MARSHA COLE, also known as Sandra McPherson, age 57, of Metairie, Louisiana, to ninety-five (95) months in federal prison as a result of her bank fraud scheme across several states in which she attempted to embezzle over $137,000 from elderly victims’ bank accounts. COLE was ordered to pay restitution to her victims in the amount of $103,482, to pay a $200 special assessment, and to serve a five-year term of supervised release following her term of imprisonment.
On July 13, 2016, COLE pled guilty to one count of bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.
COLE stole the personal identifying information (PII) of her victims and used that information to create fraudulent identification cards. Armed with that information, she went to her victim’s banks and withdrew funds. In order to obtain the funds, COLE forged the signatures of her victims. COLE attempted over to withdraw over $137,000 through over thirty-one (31) attempted withdrawals from her victim’s accounts at twenty-one (21) different banks in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. She successfully withdrew over $103,482 from her victims’ accounts.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “This sentence reflects the significant impact of identity theft and bank fraud on victims. Together with the FBI and our other federal, state, and local partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue these types of cases through federal criminal investigations and prosecutions.”
This matter was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana. The investigation has been conducted by the Baton Rouge Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Louisiana State Police. The matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill.