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Home health assistant pleads guilty to aggravated ID theft

A former home health personal nursing assistant, Melissa Charlton, 36, of Valmeyer, Ill., pleaded guilty Thursday to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft,

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced the documents were filed in U.S. District Court.

The charges say that Charlton exploited an 82-year-old woman from O’Fallon, Ill.

Charlton obtained unauthorized access to the victim’s credit cards and her checking account to obtain money and goods valued at more than $5,000. The victim attempted to stop the fraud after she discovered fraudulent credit card purchases, but Charlton also stole her replacement credit cards and misused the victim’s Social Security number and date of birth to activate the replacement cards.

She also used the victim’s personal information to apply for an additional credit card account without the victim’s knowledge or consent.

Access device fraud is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years of supervised release.
Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive two-year sentence of imprisonment that must be served in addition to the sentence imposed for access device fraud.

The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing. Charlton will be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Sept. 17.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the US Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

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