A Cleveland woman was sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to pay $78,004 in restitution for financial crimes, according to U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach.
Jocelyn Hale, 32, was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, four counts of mail fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Her co-defendant, Angelique Bankston, 42, of South Euclid, was convicted by a jury on Nov. 21 -- after an almost three-week trial -- of all 23 counts against her, including the counts listed above and one count of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud, four additional counts of mail fraud, four additional counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of money laundering, and one count of making a false statement.
In her plea agreement, Hale admitted to using identities of several individuals without their authority, and assisting Bankston to defraud Citizens Bank, Lending Club Corporation, and
Wells Fargo Bank. Bankston and Hale funded one Wells Fargo Bank account with fraudulent checks totaling $13,027.22, and then attempted to quickly remove and launder the fraudulent proceeds.
Bankston and Hale also funded a second Wells Fargo Bank account with a fraudulent tax return check in the amount of $6,172, and a Citizens Bank account with illegally obtained funds from a fraudulently obtained Lending Club loan in the amount of $30,000.
Once the illegal obtain funds were deposited, Bankston and Hale again quickly attempted to remove and launder those funds. Finally, Hale admitted to assisting Bankston to defraud the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services by filing false and fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits using a fictitious company and fictitious employees based on stolen identities.
Bankston's sentencing is currently scheduled for 10 a.m. April 23.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Bennett and Special Assistant United States Attorney Perry D. Mastrocola, following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and United States Postal Inspection Service offices in Cleveland.