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Press Release

Hull Iowa Woman Sentenced to More Than Four Years’ in Prison for Mail Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A woman who devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money through the United States Mail under false pretenses and filed a fraudulent tax return was sentenced May 11, 2017, to more than four years in federal prison.


Ranae Harriet Van Roekel, age 49 from Hull, Iowa, received the prison term after a July 29, 2016, guilty plea to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Van Roekel’s scheme involved selling non-existent tickets and accommodations to various sporting events, including the Super Bowl, over a four year time frame. After her plea of guilty and while pending sentencing, Van Roekel engaged in another scheme to defraud by selling non-existent gift bags.


During her sentencing hearing, District Judge Mark W. Bennett said that Van Roekel’s scheme had “wreaked havoc on many people’s lives.” Glenn Lange, one of the victims of defendant’s crimes, described how he had purchased Super Bowl tickets from Defendant at a fund-raiser for a cancer patient. Lange said that the tickets were intended for the cancer patient, but the tickets were never delivered. Judge Bennett noted the aggravating nature of the fraud occurring at a fund raiser for a cancer victim. Judge Bennett also described how Van Roekel’s scheme had defrauded friends and family members and that defendant had never apologized for her actions. Judge Bennett characterized Van Roekel’s lack of apology to her friends and neighbors as “inexcusable” to the court.


Van Roekel was sentenced to 51 months’ imprisonment. A special assessment of $200 was imposed, and she was ordered to make $467,966.99 in restitution to the victims. She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.


Van Roekel was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Forde Fairchild and Jamie Bowers and investigated by the United States Postal Service and the Internal Revenue Service.


Court file information at

The case file number is 16-4059.


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Updated May 15, 2017

Financial Fraud