Leader of Check Fraud Scheme Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
PROVIDENCE – Taquala Wigginton, 21, of Providence, was sentenced on Friday to 48 months in federal prison for leading a check fraud scheme that defrauded several local banks, and for violating the terms of supervised release in relation to a previous federal conviction and court-imposed sentence for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith imposed a sentence of 24 months in federal prison on Wigginton’s most recent conviction on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Wigginton pleaded guilty on July 28, 2017. Additionally, Chief Judge William E. Smith imposed a consecutive sentence of 24 months in prison for violating the terms of supervised release in relation to January 2015 conviction and original sentence imposed for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Both the government and the defense recommended to the court a sentence of 48 months incarceration. The U.S. Sentencing Guideline imprisonment range in the most recent case is 27-33 months.
Wigginton’s sentence is announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
According to court documents and information presented to the court, in the most recent case, from at least October 2015 to late February 2017, Wigginton led a conspiracy to defraud several banks through the use of fraudulent and stolen checks. The stolen and fraudulent checks were deposited into actual bank accounts, and then the funds withdrawn. As part of the scheme, Wigginton recruited individuals who surrendered control of their bank accounts and PIN numbers to her. At least seven bank account holders were identified.
According to information presented to the Court, in addition to actual bank account owners, Wigginton recruited others to participate in the scheme, including through postings on Facebook. Among those recruited to assist Wigginton was a juvenile who, by his account, executed at least 50 such transactions.
As part of the investigation into Wigginton’s criminal conduct, on February 21, 2017, Rhode Island State Police arrested Wigginton and performed a consensual search of her Providence apartment. State Police detectives seized, among other things, 335 blank checks from a Habitat for Humanity bank account; several blank checks that could be used to produce bank checks; debit cards and ATM cards, and personal identifying information belonging to several individuals.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert.