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Serial Conwoman Takes Plea in Bizarre Scam

She was the “first African-American woman” to hold the title of Director of Special Investigations for the State of Illinois. She was the only woman to ever hold the position. She was the only African-American to ever hold the position. She was the only person ever to have held the position, largely because the position did not exist. It was invented by the only person ever to have held it. But the spectacle of her having received awards and commendation for the position was videotaped for all to see. The defendant had hired the participants to act in these ceremonies including individuals who posed as judges. According to the participants, they were never paid. Therein lies the fraud. The fraudster told the actors that judges were not available for her swearing-in ceremony which is why she required paid actors. The theft of services adds up to over $21,000.

In addition, the defendant coaxed others into advancing her money under false pretenses; money she had no intention of ever paying back. She was also charged with writing fake checks to landlords, letting the checks bounce, and then forcing the landlords to evict her when she refused to pay. She was able to sustain housing like this for an extended period of time.

She has since pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by deception and one count of impersonating a state employee. The prosecution has agreed to recommend a five-year sentence, but the defendant’s actual sentence will be up to the court.

What About Federal Charges?

The federal government could have stepped in to file charges against the defendant, but in this case, they elected not to. Had they done so, the criminal fraud charges would have been filed and charged based on the total amount of money stolen, which is upwards of $300,000. Under federal rules, fraud charges are assigned a base point total and then more points are added based on the manner in which the fraud was committed, whom the fraud was committed against, and the total amount of money stolen. Logistically, she could have faced a longer sentence than five years, but the crime of impersonating a state official would have likely been dropped as that is an Illinois state law.

The victims were all local too which likely factored into the decision to file state as opposed to federal charges. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a federal prosecution would have resulted in a longer sentence in this case, as judges occasionally have the discretion to diverge from the sentencing guidelines. That would not happen with a career criminal who orchestrates one financial crime after another, but nonetheless, it is a roll of the dice.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a serious crime in the Chicago area, call criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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