ABINGDON, Va. — A Bristol woman who federal authorities say fraudulently opened several bank accounts, deposited counterfeit checks and shipped large quantities of cash overseas to assist a man she had an online relationship with pleaded guilty to a charge Thursday.
Kathleen Littleford, 76, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to execute a scheme to defraud financial institutions to obtain money by false pretenses. At sentencing, Littleford faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
According to court documents, beginning in 2018, Littleford opened a series of bank accounts for the purpose of depositing counterfeit checks and receiving fraudulent transfers of funds from other banking institutions. Authorities said she did so to assist a man she met online.
Over the course of the relationship, the man told Littleford that he made a lot of money in a trade deal in Dubai and those funds were encumbered by the IRS due to taxes he owed, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He also said he had a lot of money tied up in stocks and he needed Littleford’s help receiving funds from banking institutions because he could not transfer money himself due to the IRS claims on his accounts, authorities said.
Littleford admitted to complying with the man’s fraudulent financial requests and that she knew what she was doing was wrong, the release states. Over the course of the scheme, authorities said Littleford received more than $190,000 in funds that were not entitled, authorities said.
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