United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced that Shyria Powell, a 43 year old resident of Mobile, Alabama and her husband, William Powell, Jr., a 46 year old resident of Mobile, Alabama were sentenced to a mandatory two years in prison and one day in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay full restitution totaling $255,134.54.
On January 23, 2019, pursuant to separate plea agreements both Shyria Powell and William Powell entered guilty pleas. Shyria Powell pled guilty to aggravated identity theft and William Powell pled guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud. They both admitted in open court that from on or about October 2, 2012 to on or about December 23, 2012, Shyria Powell was employed as a bookkeeper by American Sew and Vac. As the bookkeeper of the company, she had access to the business bank accounts and credit cards with Wells Fargo Bank. Shyria Powell drafted approximately 281 checks made payable to herself and others from the bank accounts and then forged the signature of the person authorized to issue such checks. Seven of those checks were made payable to her husband, William Powell, and totaled $4,350.00. William Powell received and cashed those seven checks and used the money for his personal use and enjoyment. At the time, William Powell received and cashed those checks, he knew he was not entitled to the money and that it was fraudulently obtained. This was William Powell’s only involvement in Shyria Powell’s fraudulent scheme.
Shyria Powell also fraudulently charged personal expenses on the company debit and credit cards that were in the name of the company and its owner, E. T. H. that amounted to more than $1,000. Through her unauthorized use of the bank account, the bank account debit and credit cards she caused a loss to Wells Fargo Bank and the owners of the company $255,134.54 (which includes the fraudulent checks to William Powell). Text messages between Shyria Powell and the victims show Shyria Powell confessing to the forging of the approximately 281 checks and the fraudulent use of the debit and credit cards.
Officers of the Mobile, Alabama police department and special agents of the United States Secret Service investigated the case and brought it to the U. S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant United States Attorney, Gina S. Vann.