Monroe woman pleads guilty in connection to scheme to defraud insurance company
MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Monroe woman pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud for a scheme where she lied on U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings and insurance documents.
Lasandra Laverne Edwards, 54, of Monroe, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes to one count of mail fraud. The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks. According to the guilty plea, Edwards filed for bankruptcy in October 2013 and valued her furniture and clothing at $1,000. In November of 2013, Edwards purchased a renters’ policy that valued her assets at $100,000. Edwards’ house caught fire and burned on December 1, 2013. The defendant attended a creditors’ hearing associated with her bankruptcy case on December 10, 2013. She reaffirmed the information in the previous filings that her furniture and clothing were valued at $1,000. However, the next day on December 11, 2013, Edwards filed a claim under her insurance policy with State Farm falsely stating that her personal property was valued at $116,063.
Edwards faces up to 20 years in prison, one to three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine. The court set a sentencing date of June 1, 2017.
The U.S. Trustee’s Office – Region V, Louisiana State Police and Monroe Fire Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tennille M. Gilreath and Cytheria D. Jernigan are prosecuting the case.