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Press Release

Charlotte Woman Is Sentenced To More Than Two Years For Stealing Over $458,000 From Retirees' Accounts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cynthia Williams-Singleton, 42, of Charlotte, was sentenced today to 27 months in prison and two years of supervised release for stealing more than $458,000 from the accounts of retirees, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. also ordered Williams-Singleton to pay $462,265.40 as restitution.

Reginald A. DeMatteis, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from December 2016 to June 2018, Williams-Singleton was a customer service representative with a call center located in Charlotte, for a company identified in court documents as “Company 1.” As a call center representative, Williams-Singleton worked on accounts associated with “Client A,” and had access to Company 1’s data systems that contained, among other things, retirement fund records for Client A’s benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries, including the participants’ personally identifiable information (PII). 

According to court documents, Williams-Singleton carried out the fraud by accessing a participant’s account when the participant contacted the call center. After speaking with the participant and discovering that the participant was unsure or unaware of his or her account balance, Williams-Singleton informed the participant that the participant’s account was either empty, or had less funds than it did. She then added herself, her relatives and others, as beneficiaries of that participant’s account.  Using her access to customers’ PII and retirement fund records, Williams-Singleton made unauthorized transfers of funds from Client A’s plan participants’ retirement accounts into bank accounts in her own name or under her control. During the course of the scheme, Williams-Singleton fraudulently withdrew approximately $458,772.88 in participant and beneficiary funds from approximately eight participant accounts without authorization. Generally, the holders of the participant accounts victimized by Williams-Singleton were persons over the age of 70.

Williams-Singleton pleaded guilty to wire fraud in June 2019. She will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving her sentence upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was handled by the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Sugar, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.

In March 2019, Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced the Office’s Elder Justice Initiative, which aims to combat elder financial exploitation by expanding efforts to investigate and prosecute financial scams that target seniors; educate older adults on how to identify scams and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud; and promote greater coordination with law enforcement partners. For more information please visit: https://edit.justice.gov/usao-wdnc/elder-justice-initiative

 

Updated January 30, 2020

Topics
Financial Fraud
Elder Justice