A federal appeals court has affirmed unanimously the fraud conviction of a woman who used phony Social Security numbers and income tax information in applying for vehicle financing.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati found sufficient evidence to uphold Ashley Turner's guilty verdict and prison sentence.
According to the court, Turner provided a false Social Security number and W-2 form when she leased a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee from Prebul Jeep-Eagle-Chrysler-Plymouth in Chattanooga, Tenn., in May 1996.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Humble, who prosecuted the case, said, 'She took some bogus tax returns to give to the dealer.'
A few days later, Turner applied for a $36,350 bank loan, purportedly to buy the 1996 Grand Cherokee. That application also listed false financial information, but the bank issued for a check for the full amount, payable to Prebul.
Rather than buy the leased Grand Cherokee, however, Turner used the loan to buy a 1996 Cherokee for $21,752. Prebul accepted the bank check and gave her back a check for the $14,598 difference.
Then, in July 1996, Turner tried to borrow $20,000 from a second bank, using the title to the Grand Cherokee as collateral. That application included an inflated income figure and false Social Security number. The bank turned her down because of inconsistent information regarding the Social Security number.
A jury in Chattanooga convicted Turner of bank fraud, making false statements to federally insured banks and fraudulent use of a Social Security number. Judge Curtis Collier sentenced her to 34 months in prison and ordered her to make restitution.
On appeal, Turner claimed that psychiatric problems prevented her from adequately preparing a defense.
The three-judge appeals panel rejected that argument, as well as her claim that there was not enough evidence to support the charges. The jury reasonably could have concluded that Turner intended to commit the crimes, it said.
Her lawyer, Kim Brooks of Covington, Ky., said, Turner will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
Turner currently is serving her sentence, according to Humble, the federal prosecutor.