Habitual Offender

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The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports some pretty dismal statistics regarding recidivism, or the tendency for a convicted criminal to commit another crime. This report, which documents repeat offender statistics for state prisoners released in 2005 across 30 states, shows that they were arrested an average of two million times over the nine years following their release. (Bottom line – some criminals are destined to be habitual offenders.) A Chattanooga, Tennessee woman, who was classified as a “financial predator” by the judge, was a repeat offender who not only committed identity theft, but also had eight prior convictions for burglary, deposit account fraud, forgery, residential mortgage fraud and theft – all in the Metro Atlanta area.

The Tennessee woman carried out numerous identity theft crimes while working at two separate local businesses. She used false identification documents and was found in possession of multiple other false documents and stolen credit cards. The victim of the defendant’s illegal efforts was a former friend from North Carolina. (I’m guessing they are no longer friends.)

The fraud article explains that the Chattanooga woman lied to investigators, then chose to testify in her own defense at her trial. (Hmmm, probably not a good idea either way.) After hearing testimony from 10 witnesses – including her former victimized friend (who explained how she suffered from financial problems caused by the crime for a decade) – and viewing 140 exhibits, jurors only took 12 minutes to return a guilty verdict. (With overwhelming evidence of her crimes, that’s no surprise.)

The judge in this identity theft case sentenced the former 37-year-old New Yorker to a total of 43 years in prison, without the possibility of parole on 16 counts that included aggravated identity fraud, forgery, financial transaction card theft and false statements. (That’s what you get for having a significant prior criminal history.) Speaking of a prior criminal history, this sentence runs concurrent with a five-year sentence for a separate case involving the unlawful possession of a telephone in a jail. (Someone must have snuck it in a cake.)

The prosecutor in this case explained that many defendants deserving of substantial prison time tend to make parole before the “ink is dry on their sentence.” Due to the serious nature of this “financial predator’s” crime, the judge pulled out all the stops and made an example of this repeat offender. (Hopefully, today’s habitual offender will pick up some better habits while serving out her sentence.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”’Financial Predator’ Gets 43-Year Prison Sentence In Dalton,” posted on TheChattanoogan.com on January 22, 2019.

Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Tuesday sentenced Cara Ann Williams (also known as Kaesarea Williams) to serve a total of 43 years without the possibility of parole on 16 total counts including aggravated identity fraud, forgery, financial transaction card theft and false statements.

The sentence will run concurrent with a five-year no parole sentenced ordered by Judge Morris on a separate case involving the unlawful possession of a telephone in the Whitfield County Jail.  The prior sentence was handed down on Dec. 18 following a trial on that case.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.