Bismarck, North Dakota – A Montana woman was punished by a U.S. District Court Judge after she tricked a bank into sending her over $100,000 in cash.
According to U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, on April 13th, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland sentenced 57-year-old Carol Ann Feist of Whitehall, Montana, for committing bank fraud and aggravated identity theft against her elderly mother-in-law and father-in-law, to serve 65 months in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and pay $134,000 in restitution.
On October 26, 2021, Feist dialed Bismarck, North Dakota, a branch of U.S. Bank, and pretended to be her mother-in-law while speaking with a customer service agent.
Feist fraudulently wired $134,000 from her mother-in-law and father-in-law’s US Bank checking account to a title business in Helena, Montana, using her mother-in-law’s personal identification information.
Feist initiated this wire transfer without his mother-in-law’s or father-in-law’s knowledge or consent, and the $134,000 transaction represented their life savings. The $134,000 wire transfer was subsequently used by Feist as a down payment for a house she bought in Whitehall, Montana.
Feist falsely assumed the identity of her father-in-law by designating him as a co-borrower on the Whitehall, Montana home before taking $134,000 from her mother-in-law. Specifically, Feist provided real estate closing paperwork that were signed by her father-in-law fraudulently and bore a fake State of North Dakota notary stamp during the acquisition of the property. The transactions were carried out by Feist without her father-in-law’s consent or knowledge. Her father-in-law was receiving hospice care when Feist committed her criminal acts, and he has since passed away.
“Financial abuse of the elderly is a serious crime,” Schneider said. “Whether it is foreign-based scammers or a family member, federal law sets forth serious penalties for those who defraud senior citizens. Today’s strong sentence is a credit to our career prosecutors and partners in law enforcement.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bismarck Police Department, and the Jefferson County (Montana) Sheriff’s Office all looked into this case.
Jonathan J. O’Konek, an assistant US attorney, brought up this case.