TRENTON, N.J. – Shawn L. Craig, 47, of West Orange, was sentenced on Wednesday to 2.5 years in federal prison for defrauding an elderly East Orange woman of nearly nearly $100,000. Craig took the woman's social security payments and also applied for a reverse mortgage on the victim's home.
After gaining power of attorney over the victim, Craig gained access to the victim's bank accounts and diverted monies for her own personal use and benefit of her own family. She paid her auto insurance, purchased a home bar; paid tuition, and entertainment expenses. The bulk of the funds in the woman's accounts were primarily Social Security benefits.
Craig then applied applied for the reverse mortgage, and after receiving the money, the U.S. District Attorney's Office stated that she "made purchases at stores like Gucci, Coach, Nike, Apple, Footlocker and various other shoe stores; paid for meals and entertainment at restaurants, liquor stores and other establishments, including the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Amazing LA Tours in Santa Monica, Calif.; traveled to hotel in New Jersey, California and Florida; and paid personal bills, including automobile insurance, gas and electric, cell phone and cable bills."
Craig pleaded guilty on Sept. 24, 2013, before U.S District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging her with one count of mail fraud and one count of filing false personal federal income tax return for 2011 by not disclosing income, including money fraudulently obtained from her victim. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
In addition to the prison term, Craig was sentenced to three years of supervised release, fined $10,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $75,663.