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California woman sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud

Court documents show that a 47-year-old businesswoman started a kiting scheme in 2007, submitting fake customer details on checks to a payment-processing firm. When she received the advanced funds, she would cover up the debt with more fake customer data. For allegedly stealing over $4.65 million in six years, a California district court judge has sentenced the woman to federal prison.

Prosecutors say that the woman was taking the money out of fraudulently exaggerated business accounts and spending it on luxuries. Some of her transactions reportedly amounted to $130,000 for home construction and $33,000 for Disneyland trips. The payment-processing company that the woman was using discovered the alleged fraud through an internal audit in 2013. A federal investigation began, during which the woman reportedly continued to commit wire fraud. Investigators say that they found that she had to maintain the scheme nearly every day and that her payments totaled almost $865 million. She was allegedly skimming that money to pad her business and personal spending.

On Oct. 13, the federal judge sentenced the businesswoman to 41 months in federal prison. The judge also sentenced her to three years of supervised released and to make restitution payments for the stolen funds. During the sentencing hearing, the judge recognized the positive qualities of the woman, such as having no prior criminal record and having a supportive family. However, he said that serious punishment was deserved because of the magnitude of the theft and because she kept stealing even after she knew that a federal investigation was launched into her activities.

Individuals who are convicted of white-collar crimes such as wire fraud or embezzlement could receive substantial penalties. This may make it very hard for them to find jobs after they serve their sentence. People who have been handed these types of charges may want to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to devise a strategy to use before or at trial.

Source: Carlsbad Patch, "Carlsbad Wire Fraud Crook Gets Federal Time," Mirna Alfonso, Oct. 13, 2015

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