In-home caregiver from Hampton pleads guilty in elder fraud case

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Hampton woman pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft, stealing over $21,000 from an elderly client.

Court documents say 47-year-old Sandra Payne was employed to provide in-home care for an elderly client in Newport News.

During the course of her employment at that residence, Payne gained access to credit and debit card account numbers belonging to the family of her client.

Without lawful authority or the knowledge and consent of the account owners, she used that credit and debit information to purchase goods and services in excess of $21,000 at various merchants in Hampton Roads.

Payne pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison when sentenced on May 13.

Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

In 2018, the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners coordinated the largest sweep of elder fraud cases in history.

The cases involved more than 250 defendants from around the globe who victimized more than a 1 million Americans, most of whom were elderly. The cases include criminal, civil, and forfeiture actions across more than 50 federal districts.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan M. Cowles and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad W. McHenry are prosecuting the case.

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