North Carolina woman sentenced to identity theft, mail fraud

North Carolina

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for impersonating two people by illegally accessing a state agency’s computers, according to a federal prosecutor’s office.

In August, Melanie Alecia Ruona, 34, of Winston-Salem pleaded guilty to two counts of a six-count indictment charging her with aggravated identity theft and mail fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

In addition to the 28-month sentence she received on Wednesday, Ruona was given two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $7,005 in restitution.

Court documents and information presented in court showed Ruona and others worked a scheme to illegally access N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles computers and steal identities.

Two identities were stolen, according to prosecutors. Rouna used one of them to open a credit account at a department store and purchased $4,000 in goods. The news release says Rouna also applied for unemployment benefits in the identity of the victim for $2,934.

In October 2020, state and federal authorities identified a scheme in which multiple people assumed identities and committed various crimes. Rouna is the fourth defendant to be prosecuted based on similar schemes to illegally access NCDMV computers.

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