A Recent Federal Fraud Conviction: Understanding The Implications

Are you looking for an example of a sentence for federal white collar case? This following is not our case, but an example of what kind of sentence may be imposed for a fraud case in federal court. In a recent high-profile case in Sherman, Texas, a woman was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for identity theft and credit card fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.

Charges: Aggravated Identity Theft And Access Device Fraud

In this case, the convicted woman, aged 43, from Waco, Texas, pleaded guilty to two charges: aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. Aggravated identity theft, as its name suggests, involves the deliberate use of another person’s identifying information, typically to gain financial benefit. Access device fraud refers to illegal activities that involve using an access device, like a credit or debit card, to fraudulently obtain money, goods, or services.

The Crime And Arrest

The police arrested the woman in May 2021 after discovering she was in possession of stolen U.S. mail and multiple credit and debit cards. Further inquiries led to the revelation of a wire fraud scheme where the woman used another individual’s driver’s license number to pass a check at a Walmart in the Eastern District of Texas. Wire fraud typically involves the use of telecommunication or information technology to defraud a person or entity of money or property.

Impact Of The Fraudulent Activities

The court proceedings shed light on the far-reaching consequences of the woman’s fraudulent actions. Notably, six businesses experienced financial losses due to the check fraud scheme.

The Sentence: 10 Years In Federal Prison

Considering the woman’s extensive criminal history and the public protection necessity, U.S. District Judge sentenced her to a ten-year term in federal prison.

Law Enforcement Involvement

The U.S. Attorney emphasized the efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the McKinney Police Department in investigating this case. These agencies investigate identity theft, wire fraud, and mail theft, ensuring such fraud cases are brought to prosecution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office partners both federal and local law enforcement to vigorously investigate and prosecute fraud offenses.

Understanding The Basics: Aggravated Identity Theft

18 U.S.C. § 1028A addresses the crime of aggravated identity theft. This crime involves the unlawful use of another person’s identification during the commission of certain types of felonies. This federal statute lays out the potential penalties for these offenses, as well as the circumstances under which these penalties may be applied.

Key Components Of The Crime

This statute specifies that a person who, during and in relation to certain felonies (outlined in the statute), knowingly uses another person’s means of identification without lawful authority, will be subject to additional punishment beyond that associated with the original felony. The penalty for this crime is an additional two-year prison sentence.

If the underlying felony is related to terrorism, the punishment for aggravated identity theft increases to an additional five-year prison sentence.

Mandatory And Consecutive Sentencing

One critical aspect of the law is the requirement for consecutive sentencing. This means that the additional sentence for aggravated identity theft must be served after completion of the sentence for the underlying felony. Courts are not allowed to place a person on probation for this offense, and the additional sentence cannot run concurrently (at the same time) with any other prison term.

The only exception is when a person is convicted of multiple counts of aggravated identity theft at the same time. In such instances, the court has the discretion to decide whether the additional sentences for each count of aggravated identity theft should run concurrently or consecutively.

Underlying Felonies That Can Lead To Aggravated Identity Theft Charges

The statute provides a comprehensive list of felonies that, if committed with unlawful use of another’s identification, could lead to charges of aggravated identity theft. These felonies included theft of public money or property, false personation of citizenship, false statements in connection with firearm acquisition, various fraud and false statement offenses, mail, bank, and wire fraud, offenses related to nationality and citizenship, passport and visa offenses, and certain immigration offenses.

So, if you’re accused of committing one of these serious crimes while also unlawfully using someone else’s identification, you could be charged with aggravated identity theft. If convicted, this would mean serving an additional prison term after the completion of the sentence for the original felony.

Understanding Fraud And Access Device Offenses

18 U.S.C. § 1029 addresses offenses related to counterfeit access devices, unauthorized use, possession of device-making equipment, and more.

Types Of Offenses

Section 1029 covers various offenses, such as producing, using, or trafficking in counterfeit access devices, possessing unauthorized access devices, and altering telecommunications instruments to gain unauthorized services. Other offenses include using scanning receivers and modifying hardware or software to obtain telecommunications services without authorization.


Penalties for these offenses depend on the nature of the crime and whether it’s a first-time offense or not. Punishments can range from fines to imprisonment for up to 20 years, with the possibility of property forfeiture.

Authorized Activities And Jurisdiction

It’s important to note that authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activities are not prohibited. Additionally, if someone commits an offense outside U.S. jurisdiction involving access devices owned by U.S. entities, they can still be subject to U.S. penalties.

Defenses To Fraud Charges

When facing fraud charges, several defenses may be utilized to protect your rights and build a strong case. Some potential defenses include:

Lack Of Intent

Demonstrating that there was no intention to defraud or commit a crime can be a viable defense.

Mistaken Identity

If you were wrongfully identified as the offender, proving your innocence can be crucial.


If you had permission or authority, it can be a valid defense.

Lack Of Knowledge

Showing that you were unaware of the fraudulent nature of the access device may help in your defense.


If law enforcement induced you to commit the offense, entrapment may be a valid defense.

Don’t Navigate Legal Chaos Alone – Contact Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers , Pc Today!

Charged with aggravated identity theft or access device fraud? It’s time to bring calm to your chaotic situation. At Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers, we stand as your steadfast bulwark, powerfully defending your rights. Our top-rated fraud lawyers, led by Cody Cofer (Board Certified in Criminal Law), possess extensive trial experience. Being loyal, we are committed to fiercely fighting for you. Our fraud attorneys stay on the cutting edge of legal developments, ensuring robust defenses tailored to your unique situation. Reach out to us today at (682) 777-3336 or online – we are ready for whatever comes your way. Trust your defense to our team of criminal defense attorneys, because your peace of mind is our mission.

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