Oelwein woman convicted of mail fraud - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein woman convicted of mail fraud

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An Oelwein woman faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa says 51-year-old Shirley Hills pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for mailing counterfeit money orders across the country as part of a fraudulent "Mystery Shoppers" scheme.

In March 2013, United States Postal Service investigators confronted Hills after discovering she was sending counterfeit money orders and checks through the mail. She claimed it was part of a job she found on the Internet, but said she would stop sending them.

Hills admitted in her plea agreement that she began mailing counterfeit money orders again in October 2013 as part of a scheme where people were told they were selected as “Mystery Shoppers”. The people were instructed to cash the money orders and wire funds to other people designated in the instructions.

According to Hills, she attempted to mail $170,164.50 worth of counterfeit money orders in October and November of 2013 and attempted to mail a package containing $401,220.60 worth of counterfeit money orders in May 2014.    

A sentencing date has not been set, but Hills faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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