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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Washington County Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Renee Burnell, age 49, of Hudson Falls, New York, pled guilty today in connection with a scheme to defraud two banks using the personal information of the customers of her plumbing and heating business.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Burnell pled guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.  She admitted that between August 2019 and January 2020, she defrauded Synchrony Bank and The Bank of Missouri by applying for lines of credit with each bank using her customers’ personally identifiable information and then using the lines of credit to falsify purchases that benefitted her plumbing and heating business. Burnell admitted that her scheme resulted in a loss of $119,264.43 to The Bank of Missouri and a loss of $13,912.00 to Synchrony Bank.

The bank fraud conviction carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1 million. The aggravated identity theft conviction carries a mandatory term of 2 years in prison, to be imposed consecutively to any other term of imprisonment. The court may also require Burnell to serve a term of supervised release of up to 5 years to begin after imprisonment. Burnell is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2022, by Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Wentworth-Ping.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Updated August 17, 2022