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St. Louis woman sentenced to prison for loan fraud

BENTON, Ill. – A U.S. District judge sentenced a St. Louis woman to 12 months and one day in prison after she admitted to visiting Metro East credit unions and using fake identification documents to take out loans.

Toneka D. Prince, 20, pled guilty to one count of falsely obtaining property owned by a financial institution and one count of aggravated identity theft. Prince was ordered to pay $9,800 in restitution, and after completing her prison sentence, she will serve two years of supervised release.

“Stealing identities, taking out loans in someone else’s name and defrauding a financial institution are all serious crimes, and luckily, the defendant was apprehended,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “I appreciate our federal and local law enforcement partners for their efforts to bring Ms. Prince to justice.”

“This type of fraudulent activity can be devastating to hardworking citizens and their families, and we appreciate our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold individuals accountable for their actions,” said USSS Resident Agent in Charge Stephen Webster. “The U.S. Secret Service remains committed to identifying, investigating, and pursuing those who attempt to enrich themselves through fraudulent means.”

According to court documents, Prince engaged in a scheme to defraud a credit union using identification documents of two victims in her attempts to take out loans. The identity-theft victims’ information would first be used to fill out a loan application line. Once the loan was approved, Prince would enter the credit union and pretend to be the victim in order to collect the money.

On June 24, 2022, Prince visited the First Community Credit in Glen Carbon to collect the cash from the approved loan. She presented a fake Illinois driver’s license with a victim’s real identifiable information and successfully obtained a cash loan of $9,800. She was not authorized to use the individual’s identity.

On June 28, 2022, she went to the First Community Credit Union in Fairview Heights and signed one victim’s name on a loan application for $9,900. In the application, Prince used a fake temporary Illinois driver’s license and fake Spire gas bill with the victim’s real social security number and date of birth included. Once again, she was not authorized to use the victim’s identity.

Law enforcement officers apprehended Prince at the credit union in Fairview Heights.

U.S. Secret Service led the investigation with contributions from the Glen Carbon and O’Fallon police departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter T. Reed prosecuted the case.

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