Howell Admits To Fraud
A 67-year-old New Martinsville woman is facing 20 years in prison after admitting she defrauded an elderly couple out of $70,000.
Carolyn Lee Howell entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. in Wheeling.
U.S. Attorney Sharon L. Potter said Howell pleaded guilty to one count of devising a scheme using wireless communications to defraud an elderly couple to obtain money and property from the victims between June 2006 and May 2007 in New Martinsville.
“As part of the scheme, Howell obtained access to an elderly couple’s home and personal information in the course of providing them in-home care services,” Potter said. “She deposited convenience checks and balance transfers from the victims’ Discover credit card into her personal bank account.”
Potter said Howell also fraudulently applied for and obtained an American Express credit card, via a telephone call from Proctor to Salt Lake City, Utah, using personal information from one of the victims and then transferred money from that card to the Discover card account.
She said Howell also embezzled funds from the victims’ retirement and checking accounts and fraudulently applied for and obtained a lumber company credit account using personal information from the victims and the mailing address of her mother.
“As a result of her scheme to defraud, Howell caused total losses of approximately $70,000 to the victims,” Potter said.
In addition to going to prison, Howell could be fined $250,000. She remains free on bond, pending sentencing, and cannot provide caregiving services to the elderly.
Potter said the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Cogar and investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, and the New Martinsville Police Department.