By MIKE DONOGHUE
A New York City woman, who officials say tried to defraud four banks –including the theft of $6,500 from a Shelburne bank – is going to federal prison for 3½ years, U.S. District Court records show.
Elizabeth Rodriguez, 57, struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in exchange for her two guilty pleas to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft counts. She will be on supervised release once she is discharged from prison.
Chief Federal Judge Geoffrey Crawford in Rutland also ordered her to make $20,100 in restitution to the TD Bank following her crime spree at four branches in Shelburne, Richmond, Woodstock and Chester earlier this year.
Chester Police arrested Rodriguez when she tried to withdraw $4,200 from the TD Bank on South Main Street on Feb. 23, officials said. About two hours earlier she had attempted to illegally withdraw $4,000 from the TD Bank in Woodstock, but was denied, records show.
Police reported a week earlier Rodriguez had made two illegal withdrawals from TD Banks in Chittenden County: $6,500 in Shelburne and $5,200 in Richmond.
She initially pleaded innocent to five fraud-related charges. She eventually struck a deal on two fraud counts and one for aggravated identity theft, officials said. She unlawfully possessed and used identification documents belonging to another person while committing the bank fraud in Chester, the indictment said.
Rodriguez has a criminal record that includes 12 felony fraud convictions and the use of at least 16 known aliases, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Boscia has said.
Boscia maintained Rodriguez, also known Elizabeth Ortega, had a propensity for crime and was a risk to flee. Rodriguez – when arrested – had a counterfeit driver’s license with her picture, but with the name of the woman with the targeted bank account, Chester Police said.
Rodriguez somehow had learned the victim’s social security number and had it written on a sheet of paper in her pocket, Boscia said.