PROVIDENCE , RI – An Abington, Maryland, woman appeared in U.S. District Court in Providence, RI, on Thursday and admitted that she used the stolen identity of a customer of a Maryland business where she was employed in June 2018 and stolen blank checks from two businesses to fraudulently obtain money and services, including for the rental of a home in southern Rhode Island.
Lauren Houck, 31, admitted to the court that she gained the personal identity of the customer and forged her signature on 83 checks totaling more than $291,400. Most of the funds were used to finance a lavish lifestyle.
Houck admitted that as part of her schemes, she used the stolen identity and stolen business checks for payment to rent a house in southern Rhode Island from November 2018 to December 2019. As payment, Houck submitted three stolen checks totaling $14,000, each containing the forged signature of the person whose identity she stole.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, Houck pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus and Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division.
Houck is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2021.
Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a statutory mandatory term of imprisonment of two years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of up to one year of federal supervised release.
The case, investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.