Woman gets 13 years for bilking elderly out of $800K - FOX 32 News Chicago

Woman gets 13 years for bilking elderly out of $800K

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Chicago woman was sentenced to 13 years in prison Tuesday for swindling more than 1,000 elderly victims out of at least $800,000 in a scam that started by telling them she was checking unusual activity on their credit or debit cards.

Prosecutors claimed Tiffany Hall, 30, was the mastermind behind the scheme that bilked victims -- often widowed and living alone -- out of their retirement and life savings, a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office said.

She was arrested in early 2011 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in January 2013, authorities said.

Her husband, 33-year-old Lawrence Hall, has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the scheme, prosecutors said.

Between 2006 and 2011, Tiffany Hall spent nearly every day contacting victims to get their cash or credit cards, authorities said.

Hall admitted she falsely told victims she was a fraud investigator, either with the state or with a particular bank, and that unusual activity had been noticed on their accounts.

Once she gained their trust, Hall asked for their credit or debit card numbers, and personal information, which she used to buy items online and pay her own bills.

She also used the money to gamble, and buy cars, designer bags and shoes, televisions, gift cards, clothing, electronic and other items, prosecutors claim.

Starting in 2007, she began meeting victims in person and asking them to hand over their actual credit cards, the statement said. In 2009, Lawrence Hall began recruiting runners to pick up the cards, and fleece victims of cash.

In all, the scheme took in more than $800,000 over a period of five years, authorities said.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve also ordered Tiffany Hall to pay more than $328,000 in restitution to 70 known victims.

Two other co-defendants -- Shana Banks, 30; and Creassi Harris, 23, both of Chicago -- have also been indicted. Banks pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing, while Harris pleaded not guilty, prosecutors said.

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