Occupation fraudster Katrina Pierce was sentenced final week to five several years in federal prison for filing shut to three-dozen death certificates of individuals she claimed have been kin and making use of their stolen identities to accumulate tens of hundreds of dollars in authorities resources. The South Side of Chicago resident employed stolen identities to scam the governing administration and US taxpayers out of near to $45,000 between 2019 and 2021, including COVID-19 stimulus payments and tax refunds. The woman, who had 12 prior convictions for comparable expenses, was yet again convicted on identical wire fraud and identity theft costs for obtaining extra than 36 dying certificates for murder victims. The ages of the lifeless ranged from 2 to 22.
Pierce pretended she was in some ability associated to each and every of the victims, nevertheless she in the long run identified it tricky to maintain her tales straight, and employed particular specifics from the certificates to file for tax refunds and pandemic stimulus payments. Pierce, 51, pleaded responsible in August to a single depend of wire fraud. Her legal professional experienced asked for a two and a 50 percent yr sentence, although prosecutors had been soon after a 6 year term. Assistant U.S. Lawyer Brian Havey told Judge Virginia Kendall (pictured) that when Pierce was arrested in 2021, agents located more than 35 loss of life certificates in her dwelling from across the place, which includes Illinois, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina. Between the identities applied by Katrina Pierce was that of Amari Brown, the 7-12 months-previous boy fatally shot in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on July 4, 2015, whose demise produced headlines at the time. In that scenario, Pierce posed as Amari’s aunt when requesting his loss of life certification in 2019, then proceeded to use the stolen details to file a tax return requesting a $4,400 boy or girl credit refund look at.
On a number of events, the IRS issued COVID-10 stimulus payments really worth $1,200, $600 and $1,400 respectively to Pierce immediately after she filed a fraudulent tax return for a 22-year-aged person who was fatally shot in St. Louis in 2019. Investigators also discovered through IRS documents that various stimulus payments value $3,200 had been manufactured to a woman named Rajona Pierce – an alias Piece had applied in prior felony situations. ‘Rajona’ had shown just $1 in revenue from a phony magnificence parlor in get to assert eligibility for COVID stimulus payments. Havey mentioned Pierce’s tale is a ‘disturbing historical past of stealing and assuming false identities and aliases, which include those of the dead, both children and adult victims.’ ‘Defendant Katrina Pierce is a lifelong thief and fraudster, thieving other people’s identities and swindling federal government applications since at least the 1990s,’ Havey wrote very last thirty day period in his sentencing advice. Her scheme was ‘sophisticated, assumed-out and considerable in scope,’ Havey wrote, noting that Pierce had employed at least 25 various aliases throughout her most current rip-off. At the time the fraud commenced, Pierce was still on supervised release just after serving an 11-year federal sentence for a extremely related plan. Pictured: A 34-webpage legal complaint aspects the incredible ability for fraud possessed by Katrina Pierce, who has invested decades working to defraud the US tax and other social aid methods.
She employed stolen identities and other phony documents to steal a lot more than $200,000 in federal tax refunds and condition baby care benefits employing 180 fraudulent tax returns. She also paid out people to lie to federal agents in the course of the operate of the 2012 situation, prosecutors mentioned. In the 2012 situation, Pierce pleaded guilty to fraud and aggravated identification theft. In the sentencing memo, prosecutors wrote that she ‘engaged in expansive and all-consuming strategies to steal identities from the lifeless, misappropriate funds from the coffers of her nation.’ She ‘cheat(ed) applications made to reward kids and performing mother and father, and swindle governments throughout the nation – all to enrich herself. Thieving was [her] complete time occupation and she was good at it.’ At sentencing on Friday, Kendall took take note of Pierce’s ongoing daily life of felony fraud. ‘There have been so lots of chances for you to transform away from a daily life of criminal offense, and you have been unable to do so,’ Judge Kendall said. Havey mentioned to the decide on Friday that no make any difference what sentence she in the end imposed on Pierce, ‘I believe we will both of those see her (in court docket) all over again.’ ‘Basically everywhere she’s been, she’s picked up convictions.’ Pictured: Amari Brown.
Pierce has gathered 11 convictions for theft and fraud across many states among 1996 and 2012, in accordance to the New York Instances. She was convicted five situations by yourself in North Carolina for acquiring house by untrue pretenses and community assistance fraud. ‘Some people today, when you fall them, they split like glass,’ Pierce mentioned at sentencing, seated at the protection desk in blue jail outfits and glasses. ‘Your honor, I am on a journey of piecing myself back collectively all over again.’ Pierce’s most recent bout of fraud was first flagged back in November 2019 by an worker at the Cook dinner County Crucial Data Bureau, who discovered that Pierce had submitted requests for four loss of life certificates in a person day. She had claimed to be the sister of each and every of the dead people, even while they experienced various very last names, in accordance to a 34-web site complaint . When investigators arrived at her next ground condominium in a two-floor on the South Facet of Chicago, they rummaged by means of the trash to come across a list with scribbled names of the deceased and how they died. Pictured: The apartment where Pierce had been managing her elaborate techniques.
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