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Press Release

Charlottesville Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

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

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.  – A Charlottesville woman pleaded guilty today to altering and forging checks she obtained without the consent of the check owners.

Samantha Leigh Thomas, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.  Thomas stole checks that were not made out to her and she either altered the check to change the name of the payee to her own name or forged the signature of the original payee.  For example, in one instance, Thomas changed the check’s original amount of $25 into $1,200.  Thomas deposited all of her ill-gotten gains into one of five personal checking accounts maintained at five different financial institutions. The eventual loss suffered by all victims exceeded $25,000.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26, 2022, and faces a sentence of up to 32 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia made the announcement.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Albemarle County Police Department  investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald M. Huber is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 28, 2022