RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh woman was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison after using a fake charity in a scheme to get phones from AT&T and sell them, according to a press release from the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Jennifer Lynn Pierce, 41, of Raleigh, was convicted Friday by a jury of multiple felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense and illegally using the identity of a corporation to commit fraud.
“We take these brazen scams and cases of business identity theft very seriously,” said Sec. Elaine Marshall. “It’s especially disturbing that charitable pretenses were used as part of the scam in order to prey on the good intentions of these businesses.”
According to the secretary of state, Pierce pretended to be the operator of a charity that does not exist. Using this made-up title, she made large orders for mobile phones with service contracts from AT&T back in 2014. She never paid for the phones, and AT&T reportedly suffered $521,540 in losses.
She then took the phones and sold them for cash.
She was caught after the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office began investigating questionable charges for business registration feeds and followed tips about the charity scam.
In addition to serving at least 10 years in prison, Pierce was also ordered to pay restitution.
Brian Keonte Knight, 31, of Halifax was also charged. His case is pending.
The state investigated with the help of Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson Police Department, Concord Police Department, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office and the Conference of District Attorneys.