State Crime Reports

Chicago Woman Sentenced to 13 Years in Federal Prison for Swindling 1,000 Elderly Victims of Cash and Credit Cards

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—February 25, 2014. A Chicago woman was sentenced today to more than 13 years in federal prison for swindling at least 1,000 elderly victims of cash and credit cards, causing a loss of at least $800,000, over a period of five years. The defendant, TIFFANY HALL, was the mastermind of a scheme that targeted elderly victims, often widowed and living alone, and bilked some of them of their retirement and life savings.

Hall, 30, of Chicago, was sentenced to 159 months in prison and was ordered to pay $328,353 in restitution to more than 70 known, identified victims, by U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve. Hall pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in January 2013, and has been in federal custody since she was arrested in early 2011.

Between 2006 and 2011, Hall, whose conduct was described as “ruthless” by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Levin, spent nearly every day contacting victims and obtained cash and/or credit cards. Between 2009 and 2011 alone, Hall stole approximately $300,000 to $400,000 in cash from victims, and she used the stolen money to gamble and to purchase cars, designer bags and shoes, televisions, gift cards, clothes, consumer electronics, and other items. She also used the money to pay bills and expenses for herself and her husband, Lawrence Hall, 33, who was sentenced on Jan. 29 to 10 years in prison for his participation in the fraud scheme.

In pleading guilty, Hall admitted that, in 2006, she began calling victims and falsely telling them that she was a fraud investigator, either with the State of Illinois or a specific bank. She told the victims that their credit cards had been stolen or there was unusual activity on their accounts. After she gained the victims’ trust, she coaxed them to provide her with their credit or debit card numbers and personal identifying information, which she then used to purchase merchandise online and pay expenses for herself and her husband.

Beginning in 2007, Hall began meeting victims in person, asking them to provide her with their actual credit cards. In 2009, Lawrence Hall began recruiting runners to pick up victims’ cards and the Halls paid them in cash or allowed them to use the cards to purchase merchandise for themselves. About the same time, the Halls and their runners also started fleecing victims of their cash in addition to credit and debit cards.

Two other co-defendants were indicted with the Halls. Shana Banks, 30, of Chicago, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing next month. Creassi Harris, 23, of Chicago, has pleaded not guilty and the charges are pending.

The sentence was announced today by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.