Wire fraud gets Prosper woman 15 years in prison

staff reports
An Eastern District of Texas Courthouse sits in downtown Sherman.

Federal District Judge Amos Mazzant sentenced a Prosper woman to 15 years in prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

A press release from the office of  Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said that Kaci Brianne Stephens, 41, pleaded guilty on Feb. 26, 2021 to wire fraud and was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison on July 6,   Stephens was also ordered to pay restitution of $11,528.26.

“The public cannot, and should not, tolerate any person who abuses professional trust for their own personal gain,” said Ganjei. in the release.  “Thanks to our good partnership with IRS-CI, we were able to stop this fraud and hopefully prevent even more people being victimized.”

“The defendant’s hefty sentence reflects the severity of her multiple violations of basic fiduciary responsibility while working as a trusted customer service representative,” stated Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Elliott. “IRS-CI agents will continue to hold accountable corrupt employees who use their access to customers’ sensitive financial information for their own personal gain.” 

According to information presented in court, between 2007 and Sep. 10, 2015, Stephens was employed by Compass Foreign Exchange, LLC as a customer service representative, responsible for establishing new customer accounts, which provided her access to customer credit card information.  During this time, Stephens devised a scheme to fraudulently charge customers for her personal benefit.  To facilitate the scheme, Stephens used a merchant accounting service to set up a fraudulent merchant account using another individual’s name.  Stephens used that individual’s name without their consent and because she had access to their personal identifying information, including their Social Security number.  Through creation of the merchant account, Stephens billed Compass customers and obtained payments by charging their credit cards for services they did not request, including setting up recurring automated payments to regularly deposit funds into her personal bank account.  Stephens was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 12, 2019 and charged with federal violations.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by the Plano office of the Eastern District of Texas.