Sisters get federal jail terms in bank fraud, ID theft plea deal

Baton Rouge sisters Trachell Nakia Brown and Trevia Latoya Brown are headed to federal prison after admitting that they stole other people’s identities to commit bank frauds totaling $148,935 over a three-year period.

Trachell Brown, 27, was sentenced Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson to 51 months in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Earlier in the month, Jackson sentenced Trevia Brown, 28, to a prison term of four years for the same offenses.

The judge also ordered the sisters to jointly pay restitution of $148,935.

“This is a very serious case involving federal laws designed to prevent criminals from stealing and misusing the identities of law-abiding citizens,” U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said Friday. “Such egregious abuse of our citizens and financial institutions will not be tolerated.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said Cazayoux.

The sisters were charged in an indictment obtained Feb. 29 by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rene I. Salomon and Shubhra Shivpuri.

Trachell Brown worked at a local retail store, where she “had access to personal identifying information of individuals applying for credit,” according to that indictment. Trevia Brown worked at a different location, where she had access to abandoned patient files for people who had “sought medical-related services from a prior tenant.”

Between January 2007 and January 2010, according to the indictment, the sisters used the names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other personal information of innocent people to obtain credit cards and bank accounts in the names of those people.

Trachell Brown and Trevia Brown then used those cards and accounts to purchase furniture, a computer, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, a range, medical services and other items in the names of their victims, the indictment showed.

Trachell Brown was charged in 22 felony counts, and Trevia Brown was accused in 12 counts.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Mark Upton and defense attorney Jarvis M. Antwine arranged dismissal of all but two counts against each sister in return for the guilty pleas.