GREAT FALLS — A woman who admitted to a fraudulent check scheme in which she used fake identification cards and stolen checks to buy merchandise, was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls on Thursday.
Rachell Sheree Abbott, 34, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson.
Court documents state that between September 2019 and May 2020, Abbott participated in a scheme wherein she paid for retail merchandise and other goods at businesses around Great Falls, Montana by using stolen and altered checks that belonged to others.
To facilitate the transactions, Abbott obtained a stolen military identification card in the name of a real person, but which had been altered to depict Abbott’s picture on the card instead of the true owner’s image.
Using this scheme, Abbott would present the stolen identification card and pay for goods with the stolen checks, ultimately causing interstate wires to be generated and resulting in the loss of money to the victims from whom the checks belonged.
Abbott used the fake identification card and altered checks to spend approximately $25,000 at businesses in the Great Falls community.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided and sentenced Abbott to 26 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release; Morris also ordered Abbott to pay $23,309 in restitution.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Betley and Jeffrey Starnes prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Great Falls Police Department.