ALBUQUERQUE — A local woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal fraud and identity theft charges in federal court.
This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Stephanie Pyle, 40, was charged Feb. 10 in a 12-count indictment alleging that between January 2010 and May 2014, she used credit cards and account numbers without authorization in the name of a construction company to defraud the company.
Pyle was charged with defrauding the company of about $1.5 million over about five years. She was also charged with using the identity of another person to commit the fraudulent acts. At the time of the offenses charged in the indictment, Pyle was employed as the comptroller for the Albuquerque-based construction company that was the victim of Pyle’s criminal conduct.
Pyle pleaded guilty to two of the 12 counts of the indictment. In her plea agreement, Pyle admitted that while working as the comptroller for the company that employed her, she obtained a credit card in her name that was linked to a credit card account in the name of one of the company’s co-owners. Pyle changed the address on the account to reflect her home address, so that her employer would not see the statements of expenditures made on the credit card. Using her position as comptroller, Pyle arranged for the company to pay off the credit card balances frequently.
Pyle admitted making thousands of personal purchases on the credit card that she was not authorized to make. She also admitted using the name and credit card account of her employer without authorization to facilitate her criminal conduct.
At sentencing, Pyle faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison for her convictions of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. She also will be required to pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the court, but is currently estimated to be about $2.4 million.
This case was investigated by special agents from the HSI Albuquerque office; it’s being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña, District of New Mexico.