U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
Northern District of Ohio

February 8, 2011

Cleveland Woman Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Stealing Identities of Job Applicants and Using the Information to Open 84 Credit Cards

CLEVELAND – A Cleveland woman was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $111,000 in restitution for stealing the identities of more than 50 people who applied for jobs, announced Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Chantay Ware, 26, pleaded guilty in November 2010 to one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

“This defendant preyed on people who were looking for work,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach. “She took advantage of their good faith and used it to enrich herself, while damaging their credit reports and making it harder for the victims to find jobs.”

According to her plea, Ware used her position as an employee of HMS Host, the entity formerly responsible for operating and managing the Starbucks at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, to collect employment applications from prospective employees.

According to court documents, Ware used those applications to obtain the personal information of more than 50 people, which she then used to open 84 different credit cards funded by Citibank and Capital One Bank, listed to 14 different addresses.

The scheme took place between February 2006 and November 2008. The resulting approximate aggravated loss was $111,519, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Kate O’Malley also sentenced Ware to three years of supervised release.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan after an investigation by the Cleveland Offices of the U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration.                                        

Today’s sentence is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.

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What is Financial Fraud?

Financial Fraud encompasses a wide range of illegal behavior - from mortgage scams to Ponzi schemes, credit card theft to tax fraud. Everyone is affected by financial fraud.