Former domestic sentenced to 2 years in identity theft

Andrew Clevenger
10/12/2007 – A Kanawha County woman was sentenced to two years in prison in federal court on Thursday for stealing more than $77,000 from the elderly woman who employed her as a housekeeper.

Kimberly S. Mullins of Elkview pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in July. She admitted she forged the signature on more than 20 checks belonging to Emma Carson, for whom Mullins worked as a caregiver and housekeeper between 1999 and February 2005.

Mullins deposited checks made out “to cash” and totaling more than $40,000 in her own accounts at Traders Bank and Poca Valley Bank, her written plea agreement states.

In addition, Mullins made 23 payments via telephone to her own credit card account, using the victim’s checking account as the method of payment, the plea states. The total payments to Mullins’ credit card totaled more than $37,000.

“I want to apologize to Miss Carson for what I’ve done,” Mullins said. “From the depths of my heart, I hope you’ll forgive me.”

From her seat in the gallery, Carson told Mullins that she forgave her.

“I’m glad I was caught doing this, because I’m glad I can pay her back,” Mullins said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ordered Mullins to repay the $77,122 she had taken, plus $20,410.92 in interest.

Mullins’ attorney, John Mitchell Sr., said that his client’s husband had recently passed away. She was ready to turn over more than $65,000, which represented roughly $48,000 of proceeds from her husband’s benefits, plus more than $16,000 that had been frozen in her bank account, Mitchell said.

In addition, Mullins was willing to sign over the $1,074 monthly payment she received from her husband’s pension to Carson, he said.

Carson told the judge that she was very upset over the incident.

“She worked for me for many years,” Carson said. “I trusted her.”

She said she was shocked and hurt by Mullins’ actions, and she was sure that Mullins’ family was heartbroken also.

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“I’ll never get over it, and I’m sure they won’t,” she said.

Goodwin ordered Mullins to self-report to a correctional facility on Nov. 26. He said he would recommend a low-security prison camp for Mullins.

The judge noted that at one point during the investigation, Mullins had commented that Carson had so much money, Mullins didn’t think she would miss the stolen money. The judge said Mullins had evidently had a change of heart, given the sincerity of her apology.

After the hearing, Carson exchanged handshakes and hugs with members of Mullins’ family.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” she told them.

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