Crime Watch

Jan 9, 2014 2:06 PM by Victoria Fregoso - Q2 News

Billings woman admits to stealing investor money and bank fraud

BILLINGS - A Billings woman who stole $150,000 from investors and committed bank fraud pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges.

Angela Corson Smith, 33, admitted to felony charges of bank fraud and wire fraud.

Smith appeared before Judge Susan Watters in U.S. District Court to enter a change of plea. She is scheduled to be setnenced on May 8.

The bank fraud charge dates back to October of 2009.

During the hearing Thursday, Smith admitted to submitting a home equity loan on a residence owned by her husband without his knowledge.

Smith said she forged documents to obtain $27,300 for personal use through Altana Federal Credit Union.

The charge of wire fraud stems back to Sept. 2010 when Smith said she contacted several individuals to invest in a new business.

The proposed business, Medical Billing Advocates of Montana, would assist physicians, patients and insurance companies to resolve billing issues.

Smith promised the investors a quick turnaround on their investments with interest. An investigation showed the business had a few clients but the business was fraudulent.

Funds from investors were deposited into Smith's personal banking account and the business banking account. She used those funds to pay for personal expenses, all of which were unrelated to the business.

Smith continued to request loans from various investors, and she used the funds to make payments to earlier investors.

As the investors requested promised payments, Smith claimed herself, along with her daughter, were gravely ill and she was experiencing marital difficulties.

During this time, Smith provided investors with checks that bounced.

According to a plea agreement, Smith will be required to pay restitution to seven different individuals and businesses totaling $150,000. Six other charges she originally faced will be dismissed without prejudice.

The count of bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and five years of supervised release.

The wire fraud count carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release.

Smith won't be eligible for parole under the plea agreement.

Smith was arrested on June 25, 2013. The next month, Smith entered into a plea agreement in which she would plead guilty to one count of bank fraud.

That agreement was rejected by a judge in October. A second plea agreement was filed on Wednesday.

Smith caught public attention in April when she was suspected of impersonating a nurse and other hospital workers at Billings Clinic.

A memo by St. Vincent Healthcare officials to employees stated Smith claimed she was a nurse practitioner student, the director of nursing and a physician student assistant at Billings Clinic.

When she was charged with fraud in federal court, a judge ordered her to stay away from both Billings hospitals unless she had a medical emergency.

No charges have been filed in connection with Smith's alleged impostor activities.

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