Dallas Neighbors Sentenced on ID Theft and Fraud Conspiracy Convictions
DALLAS — Two Dallas residents have been sentenced for their roles in an ID theft and mail and wire fraud scheme they ran in 2011 and 2012, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Christain Cowan Felder, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle on Friday afternoon to serve a total of 75 months in federal prison. Last month, her co-conspirator and neighbor, Lawonka King, 41, was sentenced by Judge Boyle to serve a total of 65 months in federal prison. Judge Boyle ordered each to pay $227,240 in restitution, jointly and severally. Each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in the case, from approximately September 2011 through November 2012, King worked at New York Life Insurance Company where she processed policy applications submitted by the company’s field agents. Those applications contained personal identifying information of the New York Life customers and often financial information, such as bank account information.
During that time, Felder and King conspired with each other and others to misappropriate that information and use it to fraudulently acquire goods and money for their mutual benefit. King provided Felder with policy applications and other customer paperwork, and Felder would use that information to print counterfeit checks drawn on the identity victim’s bank account. Felder then would take the counterfeit checks to Wal-Mart stores where other co-conspirators were employed as cashiers. To cash the counterfeit checks, the co-conspirators scanned the counterfeit checks, often several at once, through a TeleCheck terminal. Felder would then obtain Wal-Mart gift cards and share the proceeds with King and other co-conspirators.
Felder also used the personal identifying information King provided to establish at least nine online accounts at EBay and 11 at PayPal to acquire household items and jewelry. Felder completed 337 online transactions using those accounts, and many of the items purchased were delivered to the defendants’ addresses by Federal Express.
On November 21, 2012, officers with the Lancaster Police Department executed a search warrant at Felder’s residence and seized 118 New York Life policy applications that King had given her. In addition, more than 200 counterfeit checks, bearing the personal identifying information of New York Life clients, were found. Blank check stock was located in a printer’s feeder.
On November 30, 2012, officers with the Lancaster Police Department executed a search warrant at King’s residence and located 14 New York Life policy applications hidden under the cushion of a sofa. Law enforcement also located Wal-Mart gift cards, bank statements and credit cards in names other than King.
The Lancaster Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Stokes was in charge of the prosecution.
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