Identity Thief Gets Five Years in Federal Prison for RV Swindle

CORPUS CHRISTI, Febuary 22, 2017 - A 41-year-old woman has been ordered to serve five years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and fraudulent use of a Social Security number, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Cecile Cole, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty in Corpus Christi federal court Nov. 30, 2016.

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head ordered Cole to serve 36 months for fraudulently using a Social Security number plus a mandatory consecutive 24-month sentence for the identity theft. The total 60-month prison term will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Cole was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $97,254.03 for economic losses to the victims including losses on a fraudulent department store account, losses to a car dealership and the diminishment in value of a recovered motorhome. Judge Head additionally ordered Cole to reveal the location of a fraudulently-obtained SUV as part of her conditions of supervised release.

While working in the finance department of an East Texas car dealership, Cole illegally copied dozens of credit applications containing the identifying and credit information of customers. Using this stolen information, Cole opened a fraudulent department store credit account and made purchases in Beaumont and Lumberton. Cole then traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, where she used one of the stolen identities to purchase an Infinity FX 35 SUV on credit in late February 2016. Approximately two weeks later, Cole again used a stolen identity to purchase a Coachman Motorhome, valued at more than $82,000, on credit from an RV dealership in Corpus Christi.

Cole was later found and arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, still in possession of the fraudulently-obtained motorhome. A search of that motorhome revealed 41 additional stolen credit applications containing the identifying and credit information of other individuals.

The Secret Service conducted the investigation with the assistance of police departments in Corpus Christi, Atlanta, Memphis, and Payson, Arizona; and the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. prosecuted the case.

 
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