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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Woman Charged In A Multi-state Bank Fraud And Identity Theft Scheme

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that an indictment was returned by a grand jury charging a New York woman with  bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Njeri Bowen, age 26, a resident of New York, defrauded a PNC Bank in State College and more than 25 PNC Bank customers of approximately $138,000.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Bowen and her co-conspirators operated out of New York City and as part of the scheme, Bowen obtained PNC Bank customer names and account numbers.  Bowen traveled to PNC Bank branches located in several states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, and Alabama, where she impersonated bank account holders and made cash withdrawals from the customers' accounts.  In each fraudulent withdrawal, Bowen withdrew between $4,500.00 to $6,500.00 in cash.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Maryland State Police.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph J. Terz.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations.  All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.           A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal bank fraud statute is 30 years' imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  The maximum penalty under the federal aggravated identity theft statute is a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs.  For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 9, 2015