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Woman sentenced for bank fraud

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A Renner woman who stole checks from mailboxes then altered and cashed them has been sentenced to two months in jail and four years of supervised probation.

Tessa Crawford, 24, will also have to repay nearly $4,000 in restitution.

She pled guilty last year and was sentenced last week in federal court in Sioux Falls.

Below is the news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Renner, South Dakota, woman convicted of Bank Fraud was sentenced on March 2, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Tessa Crawford, age 24, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release, restitution in the amount of $3,877.92, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Crawford was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 8, 2019. She pled guilty on December 2, 2019. The conviction stemmed from incidents beginning on or about November 8, 2017, and continuing through on or about February 14, 2018, when Crawford, along with others, knowingly executed and attempted to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud financial institutions by obtaining money, funds, credits, assets, securities, and other property owned by, and under the custody and control of, the financial institutions, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.

Crawford stole several legitimate checks from the unsecured mailboxes of various individuals in the Sioux Falls area. Crawford then “washed” the checks by using chemicals to remove some of the original handwritten ink and altered the payee and the amount sections of the checks. She then negotiated the checks and attempted to negotiate the checks for her own purpose and benefit, and recruited others to negotiate the checks and attempt to negotiate the checks on her behalf.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case. Crawford was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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