Written by Gabriel Dillard
Alena Nicole George, 43, of Fresno, pleaded guilty Friday to federal access device fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, from February through April 2019, George used a credit card that was fraudulently opened in the identity of a victim with a name similar to her own to make $100,000 in purchases at national retailers and more than $30,000 in cash advances at a national bank.
George originally responded to the accusation by saying she became involved in a romantic, online relationship with an individual she believed was in the U.S. military and was stationed in Afghanistan. At this person’s direction, she said she used the Capital One credit card to make the purchases and cash advances, which she sent to this person.
“Accordingly, Defendant GEORGE now admits that she committed access device fraud…,” according to the plea agreement.
Purchases included gift cards for digital video game downloads and other items at the Walmart store where George worked as well as purchases at the Apple store, Target and Walgreens, according to court document.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vincente Tennerelli and Joseph Barton are prosecuting the case.
George is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Jan. 21, 2022. George faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court.