Valmeyer woman guilty of ID theft

A former home health personal nursing assistant from Valmeyer entered a guilty plea Thursday in federal court to charges of aggravated identity theft and access device fraud in connection to the financial exploitation of an elderly woman.

Melissa Charlton, 36, of Valmeyer, will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis on Sept. 17.

Court documents state that Charlton exploited an 82-year-old woman from O’Fallon. Charlton obtained unauthorized access to the victim’s credit cards and her checking account to obtain money and goods valued at more than $5,000.

“The victim attempted to stop the fraud after she discovered fraudulent credit card purchases, but Charlton also stole her replacement credit cards and misused the victim’s social security number and date of birth to activate the replacement cards,” a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states. “She also used the victim’s personal information to apply for an additional credit card account without the victim’s knowledge or consent.”

Access device fraud is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years of supervised release. Aggravated ID theft carries a mandatory consecutive two-year sentence of imprisonment that must be served in addition to the sentence imposed for access device fraud.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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