Woman nabbed in Pee Dee for multi-state identity theft, fraud ring found guilty in federal court
FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – A woman who was arrested in Florence County for her role in a multi-state identity theft and fraud ring faces over three decades behind bars after being found guilty in federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Quinae Shamyra Stephens, 41, of Douglasville, Georgia, was convicted on all six charges brought against her, including conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, aggravated identity theft, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Stephens’ trial in Florence marked the first federal criminal jury trial in the Pee Dee region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephens and her son, Deandre Copes, 23, were traveling from New Jersey to Florida in a stolen rental van when they drew the attention of law enforcement officers in Latta, according to authorities. The duo were reportedly going back and forth from a bank to a local retail store.
Authorities said search of the van ultimately revealed more than a dozen identification documents.
The identification documents reportedly included several with Stephens’ picture in various names, a device for re-encoding credit cards with different account information, and more than 25 debit and credit cards, most in the names of individuals other than Stephens or her son.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, an investigation by the Secret Service revealed that Stephens would download instructional material from the dark web related to credit card fraud and identity theft, using software from the dark web to procure personally identifiable information.
Her laptop reportedly contained instructional material and files that could be used to create fake banking websites to steal account information.
Authorities said Stephens also possessed a loaded semi-automatic handgun, which she is prohibited from having because of two prior felony convictions in Georgia.
More than 120 exhibits were entered into evidence during Stephens’ trial, and more than a dozen witnesses and victims traveled from California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to testify.
Copes, Stephens’ son, previously pleaded guilty to wire and bank fraud conspiracy.
United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon will sentence Stephens and Copes after receiving and reviewing pre-sentence reports prepared by the United States Probation Office.
Both face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of $1,000,000 for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
Stephens also faces a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for aggravated identity theft.
“On behalf of the Latta Police Department and the citizens of our town, we give the utmost appreciation to our federal partners in this conviction,” said Latta Police Chief Josh Holt. “Financial crimes cover all demographics and identity fraud affects so many unknowing victims. Even in a small town like ours, crime doesn’t pay.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Latta Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
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