Two local women convicted of fraud

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2010



NEW ORLEANS – Two River Parishes women pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court proceedings in New Orleans this week, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office.

Katherine Charles, 51, of St. Rose, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of bank fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud an Idaho bank.

According to the release, Charles admitted to opening a savings account at Home Federal Bank of Nampa, Idaho, and depositing six checks drawn from two separate checking accounts she held at other banks.

Immediately after depositing the checks, Charles withdrew the funds from the Home Federal Bank account with her debit card, which caused the account to be overdrawn.

Court documents indicate Charles knew both accounts had been closed or suspended and Home Federal Bank would not receive the money at the time she made the deposits.

In all, Charles obtained $5,538.48 fraudulently from Home Federal Bank, according to the release.

Charles faces a maximum prison term of 30 years with five additional years of supervised probation, a $1,000,000 fine and restitution to Home Federal Bank.

Sentencing in her case has been scheduled for April 22.

In an unrelated investigation, Aleta M. Jones, 36, of LaPlace, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud related to a series of fraudulent applications for Red Cross financial assistance.

Court documents said Jones admitted in court she applied for and received one-time disaster assistance funds up to eight times for relief following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the fall of 2005.

Jones filed her applications between Sept. 12, 2005, and Oct. 3, 2005, and received $10,955 in Red Cross funds, according to the release.

Jones faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail, up to three years probation, a fine of $250,000 and possible restitution to the Red Cross.

Sentencing in Jones’ case is scheduled for May 12.