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Man sentenced to prison for utility fraud

A Texas man who was accused of setting up accounts with TXU Energy using stolen Social Security numbers was sentenced to federal prison after he was convicted for a utility fraud scheme on July 2. Additionally, he was also required to pay restitution in the amount of $110,344 to the energy company.

The 58-year-old man reportedly began running the scheme after TXU gave a grace period to those whose accounts had become delinquent. The man set up more than 600 accounts using more than 200 Social Security numbers with customer service centers located outside of Texas. Residents then paid money to the man and received power from the company. Ultimately, the man was sentenced to 37 months in prison. He was free on bond but was scheduled to begin serving his sentence in the middle of August.

When a person is accused of fraud or another white collar crime, the punishments can be severe. Often, the person may be sentenced to a lengthy prison stay and may be ordered to pay a hefty restitution. Further, the conviction goes on the person's criminal record which could affect the ability to gain employment or be approved for loans at a later date.

If a person is facing fraud charges, an attorney may have the ability to create a defense strategy that seeks to have the charges dismissed, seeks to demonstrate that the person is not guilty or that ultimately lessens the consequences. For example, if the evidence against the person is particularly strong, the attorney may negotiate an agreement that would involve a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduction in the penalties.

Source: KWTX, "Waco: Waco Man Sentenced For Utility Fraud Scheme", July 2, 2015

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