Grand Jury Returns Three Indictments
MADISON, WIS. – -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictments. The indictments were returned today, with the exception of the indictment of Andrew Steiskal, which was returned by the grand jury yesterday.
You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Two Charged with Fraud Scheme
Shelly Scott, 43, and Jason Edge, 44, both from Missouri, are charged with a scheme to commit wire fraud which involved identity theft. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, attempting to commit wire fraud, using the identification of another person to attempt to commit wire fraud, and possessing the means of identification of another person. Scott is also charged with two counts of wire fraud.
The indictment alleges that Scott and Edge obtained identification documents of actual people without their consent, and that they obtained personal checks for accounts belonging to other people without their consent and altered the checks to add the names of the persons who identities were stolen.
The indictment alleges that Scott and Edge used the stolen identities and stolen or altered checks to purchase merchandise from Walmart stores, and then would return some of the merchandise in exchange for cash and gift cards. The indictment alleges that when a Walmart employee attempted to obtain authorization from TeleCheck, a company used by Walmart for the verification of personal checks, the defendants would call a co-conspirator and falsely indicate that the person on the phone was a TeleCheck representative, who would tell the Walmart employee to override the declination and accept the check.
The indictment alleges that:
- Between February 7 and February 13, 2018, Edge made over $17,000 in purchases at five Walmart stores in Illinois, using a stolen identity and altered personal checks;
- On February 24, 2018, an unidentified co-conspirator made purchases totaling $6,633.58 at Walmart stores in Madison, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, using a stolen identity and stolen personal checks;
- On February 25, 2018, Scott made a purchase totaling $4,945.10 at the Walmart in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, using a stolen identity and an altered personal check; and
- On February 25, 2018, Scott and Edge attempted to make a purchase totaling $5,693.01 at the Walmart in Monona, Wisconsin, using a stolen identity and fraudulent personal check.
Scott and Edge were arrested in Monona on February 25 by officers with the Monona Police Department.
If convicted, Scott and Edge face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the charges involving wire fraud, a maximum penalty of 15 years on the possession of another person’s identification, and a mandatory penalty of two years on the charge of using the identification of another person to attempt to commit wire fraud, also known as aggravated identity theft. Federal law requires that any penalty imposed on the aggravated identity theft charge be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
The charges against Scott and Edge are the result of an investigation by the Monona and Sun Prairie Police Departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Przybylinski Finn.
New Lisbon Man Charged with Producing, Distributing, and Possessing Child Pornography
Andrew Steiskal, 22, New Lisbon, Wisconsin, is charged with four counts of producing child pornography, one count of distributing child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography. The indictment alleges that on November 22, 2017, Steiskal used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct and created four separate video files of such conduct. The indictment also alleges that on January 9, 2018, he distributed visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct to another minor, and that on January 17, 2018, he possessed a cellular phone containing child pornography that included at least one depiction of a minor less than 12 years old.
If convicted, Steiskal faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years on each production count, a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years on the distribution count, and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the possession count.
The charges against Steiskal are the result of an investigation by the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and Dorchester County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman.
Sun Prairie Man Charged with Gun Crime
Brendon Linus-Brown, 21, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. The indictment alleges that between April 30 and May 1, 2018, he possessed a .22 caliber pistol and a .40 caliber pistol.
If convicted, Linus-Brown faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Sun Prairie Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita Rumbelow.
This indictment was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.