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Crime & Courts

Tampa woman faces 30 years in prison on fraud charges


Published:   |   Updated: December 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

A Tampa woman faces a maximum of 30 years in federal prison after court documents show she tricked bank customers into withdrawing money for her and obtaining more than $12,000 in dental work while using a false identity.

Latasha Callens, 35, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of bank fraud, access device fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to the plea agreement, Callens committed more than 58 acts of fraud in a two-year period ending in May.

Callens primarily targeted bank customers, usually at ATMs, court documents show. She approached them with a sad story about needing money and being unable to deposit a check into her bank account, and convinced patrons to deposit her checks — generally written off closed accounts and therefore worthless — in return for money withdrawn from their accounts.

Court records show Callens also wrote the checks using the identity of deceased individuals, and during an arrest in May 2013, she had a stolen purse that contained the victim’s checkbook, Florida driver’s license, Social Security card and credit card.

Using this victim’s identity, court records show Callens obtained more than $12,000 in dental care in Clearwater, while also filing fraudulent tax returns with other stolen identities.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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