Billings Woman Sentenced In Identity Theft Case
Announced Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich announced a 37-year-old Billings woman was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Additionally, the defendant was ordered to pay $21,045.98 in restitution.
The defendant, only identified by the last name Stephenson, was a worker at an assisted living facility here in Billings. At the time, she took the debit card and PIN from a 96-year-old resident who requested she buys him a six-pack of beer. Stephenson did so, then used the victim's bank card twelve times to place funds over $1,000 on the Telmate account of her incarcerated boyfriend in Idaho.
Over the next month, on 22 separate occasions, Stephenson took the card to an ATM and withdrew over $16,200 from the victim's account in $700 increments. She also used the victim's credit card for thousands of dollars in criminal legal services for her boyfriend.
After she was done, Stephenson caused a loss of over $21,000 to the elderly victim. The money was discovered missing by a relative serving as Power of Attorney for the victim.
When law enforcement questioned her, she denied involvement, claiming the victim never gave up his credit card. She maintained her innocence, even when advised her name had been entered into a Cash App transaction on the victim's phone.
When Stephenson finally acknowledged she took the money, she claimed the victim gave her permission, and that she always provided him with some of the funds she withdrew. She later conceded that the victim did not actually have the capacity to authorize the transfer of any funds to her.