Toya Toshell Hunter, a 45-year-old woman from South Los Angeles, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for acting in a conspiracy to defraud banks by stealing debit cards containing unemployment insurance and other benefits. Co-schemers should be motivated to separate their cases. A lesser defendant should not be held to the same weight as their co-schemer, who orchestrated the crime.
Postal Worker and Friend Create Defrauding Scheme
From 2015 to 2020, Hunter was involved in a conspiracy to defraud Bank of America by stealing mail from her route that contained California Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards, debit cards that contained Economic Impact Payments for federal COVID-19 monetary relief, United States Treasury checks, and other mail with victims' personal identification information.
Once the items were in her possession, she would transfer them to Micahela Latise Barksdale, who would activate and use the debit cards. In exchange, Barksdale would provide Hunter with future payments and gifts. Hunter stole over $200,000 from Bank of America during these five years.
How A Skilled Defense Attorney Can Help
When co-schemers are adjudicated together, it can negatively impact the lesser defendant. In this case, Hunter's co-schemer, Barksdale, pleaded guilty in March 2023 to one count of bank fraud and one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices. As part of her plea deal, she agreed to turn in everything she'd received during the scheme, including 103 EDD debit cards, 78 EIP cards, and four iPhones. She is facing up to 40 years in federal prison and is clearly the ringleader of this scheme. Hunter might have received a lighter sentence if she had been encouraged to defend herself. However, she will never have the chance to do so because she took a plea deal. This is why working with a competent and skilled defense attorney is key.
Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group is an experienced defense attorney who will work diligently to mitigate any negative consequences you might be facing. Call 818-325-0570 today for a free consultation.