A Florida woman has pleaded guilty to $1 million in fraud including credit card fraud and identity theft.
According to a US Justice Department release, US Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced that Justina Maria Holland (36 from the city of Winter Springs) pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, two counts of access device (credit card) fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, 2twocounts of false use of a social security number, and one count of theft of government property.
Holland, now known as Justina Maria Rummel, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft counts, and maximum penalties ranging between five to 20 years in federal prison for the other counts. Sentencing has been set for March 1, 2021.
According to court documents, Holland was employed at a local business where she had access to the bank and credit accounts of the business and its owner. From March 2015 through June 2018, she used her position to embezzle over $1 million from her employer and the employer’s owner.
Holland’s scheme consisted of three parts.
First, she embezzled over $300,000 by taking funds from various company checking and individual retirement accounts and by manipulating the company’s payroll system to receive additional salary payments.
Second, Holland engaged in over $700,000 of credit card fraud. She made unauthorised purchases using the victim’s American Express and Visa credit cards by making unauthorised transfers from her employer’s various bank accounts. Holland also opened a Visa credit card account in the victim’s name by using his Social Security number and date of birth. Holland used that VISA card to make over $196,000 in purchases for herself, including for vacations. She also used her employer’s bank accounts to pay the bills incurred with that VISA card.
Third, Holland used her minor son’s Social Security number to obtain financing for her purchase of a BMW and a Porsche. She used funds from her employer to make some of the car payments for the vehicles.
Holland covered up her embezzlements by providing her employer with false spreadsheets that concealed her spending, among other things. She also erased the contents of her work phone and the hard drive from her computer after her fraud was detected.
During the time that Holland was working at the employer and embezzling funds, she received food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a federally-funded, national programme established by the US Department of Agriculture that was administered in Florida by the Florida Department of Children and Families. In her applications for public SNAP assistance, Holland falsely represented that she and her husband did not earn any income.
From May 2012 to August 2016, Holland received over $23,000 in SNAP benefits. She would not have received any of those benefits had she not made those misrepresentations about her financial situation.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Seminole Financial Crimes Task Force, the US Department of Agriculture — Office of the Inspector General, and the Florida Department of Financial Services — Division of Public Assistance Fraud. It is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Roger B. Handberg and Terry B. Livanos.
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