Habitual Offender

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The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports some pretty dismal statistics regarding recidivism, or the tendency for a convicted criminal to commit another crime. This report, which documents repeat offender statistics for state prisoners released in 2005 across 30 states, shows that they were arrested an average of two million times over the nine years following their release. (Bottom line – some criminals are destined to be habitual offenders.) A Chattanooga, Tennessee woman, who was classified as a “financial predator” by the judge, was a repeat offender who not only committed identity theft, but also had eight prior convictions for burglary, deposit account fraud, forgery, residential mortgage fraud and theft – all in the Metro Atlanta area.

The Tennessee woman carried out numerous identity theft crimes while working at two separate local businesses. She used false identification documents and was found in possession of multiple other false documents and stolen credit cards. The victim of the defendant’s illegal efforts was a former friend from North Carolina. (I’m guessing they are no longer friends.)

The fraud article explains that the Chattanooga woman lied to investigators, then chose to testify in her own defense at her trial. (Hmmm, probably not a good idea either way.) After hearing testimony from 10 witnesses – including her former victimized friend (who explained how she suffered from financial problems caused by the crime for a decade) – and viewing 140 exhibits, jurors only took 12 minutes to return a guilty verdict. (With overwhelming evidence of her crimes, that’s no surprise.)

The judge in this identity theft case sentenced the former 37-year-old New Yorker to a total of 43 years in prison, without the possibility of parole on 16 counts that included aggravated identity fraud, forgery, financial transaction card theft and false statements. (That’s what you get for having a significant prior criminal history.) Speaking of a prior criminal history, this sentence runs concurrent with a five-year sentence for a separate case involving the unlawful possession of a telephone in a jail. (Someone must have snuck it in a cake.)

The prosecutor in this case explained that many defendants deserving of substantial prison time tend to make parole before the “ink is dry on their sentence.” Due to the serious nature of this “financial predator’s” crime, the judge pulled out all the stops and made an example of this repeat offender. (Hopefully, today’s habitual offender will pick up some better habits while serving out her sentence.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”’Financial Predator’ Gets 43-Year Prison Sentence In Dalton,” posted on TheChattanoogan.com on January 22, 2019.

Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Tuesday sentenced Cara Ann Williams (also known as Kaesarea Williams) to serve a total of 43 years without the possibility of parole on 16 total counts including aggravated identity fraud, forgery, financial transaction card theft and false statements.

The sentence will run concurrent with a five-year no parole sentenced ordered by Judge Morris on a separate case involving the unlawful possession of a telephone in the Whitfield County Jail.  The prior sentence was handed down on Dec. 18 following a trial on that case.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.