A Bowie woman was sentenced Friday to 70 months in prison for mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and bank fraud.
Forty-seven-year-old Tonia Latrice Lewis obtained and utilized the identities of dozens of people to apply for loans and open bank accounts without their consent or knowledge. Lewis opened for than 30 accounts to gain access to funds from financial not-for-profit institutions, including Lafayette Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union, D.C. Teachers Federal Credit Union, Interior Federal Credit Union and M&T bank.
Lewis perpetrated the fraud scheme to conceal her identity and was successful for years. She focused primarily on financial institutions that permitted her to apply, submit and backup documentation online, avoiding detection through surveillance video.
Lewis fabricated documents, such as paycheck stubs and driver’s license to substantiate the stolen identities and applications. She also ran credit checks and reports on her victims.
To avoid detection, Lewis purchased burner phones, created fake emails and utilized addresses of vacant properties to receive mail. She also wore hats, scarves and glasses to conceal her identity. She went so far as to utilize aluminum foil to cover the lens on surveillance cameras, according to court documents.
Lewis’s actions caused losses of $249,858.29, which she utilized to purchase clothing and jewelry. Some of the proceeds were utilized to gamble at a West Virginia casino.