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Corona Woman Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud Involving Stolen Debit Cards

Corona Woman Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud Involving Stolen Debit Cards

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

8/7/2023

Updated: 8/16/2023

A Riverside County, California, woman was sentenced Aug. 7 to two years behind bars for using state Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards stolen from the mail to withdraw funds from bank cash machines.
Michalea Barksdale, also known as Miichii Bee, 34, of Corona, was also ordered to pay restitution of $253,041 and forfeit $16,020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ms. Barksdale pleaded guilty in March in Los Angeles federal court to one count of bank fraud and one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices.
She worked the scheme with an ex-U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from South Los Angeles who admitted to stealing debit cards from the mail while on duty and giving them to Ms. Barksdale in exchange for cash and gifts.
Toya Hunter, 45, was sentenced in April to 15 months behind bars and ordered to pay $206,212 in restitution, federal prosecutors said.
Ms. Hunter pleaded guilty in December to one federal count of bank fraud.
From January 2019 to May 2020, Ms. Hunter stole mail—including letters sent by the state EDD—and gave the stolen EDD debit cards as well as other credit cards to her co-defendant.
Ms. Barksdale used the last four digits of victims’ Social Security numbers to activate the debit cards and create personal identification numbers to access funds, which were held at Bank of America, court papers show.
Ms. Barksdale then used the stolen EDD card to withdraw cash from a Bank of America ATM located in Corona, prosecutors said.
Ms. Hunter helped Ms. Barksdale make withdrawals from 68 victims’ accounts and stole about $145,191 from Bank of America, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In July 2021, Ms. Hunter stole pieces of mail and fraudulently activated a stolen debit card containing COVID-19 pandemic unemployment relief money belonging to another victim. Ms. Hunter used the card to make fraudulent purchases and cash withdrawals, stealing about $1,400 from Fiserv, a payment and mobile banking system, her plea agreement states.
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