Madison County woman pleads guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud
A Madison County woman pleaded guilty this week to mail and wire fraud charges related to a scheme in which she stole at least $1.5 million from victims while purporting to have terminal cancer, vast wealth and connections to celebrities.
According to court documents, Christine F. Anderson, 51, of Reva, owned and operated the publishing companies known as Christine F. Anderson Publishing and Media and Sage Wisdom. Anderson took money from book authors but later failed to pay the authors their royalties as owed and did not provide products and services as negotiated. In addition, Anderson often falsely claimed to have been diagnosed with cancer to delay payment to the book authors, while also purporting to maintain vast wealth, and connections to celebrities.
When authors failed to receive the royalty payments they were owed, Anderson made elaborate excuses for the delay, including being busy working with the White House on the State of the Union.
In addition to the book publishing scheme, Anderson also admitted to orchestrating a real estate scheme where she signed contracts for expensive real estate, provided false proof of funds, and then was unable to provide the earnest money deposits. Often, Anderson would sign bad checks for the earnest money deposits, which would never clear.
While she was putting contracts on these properties, Anderson took money from individuals helping her in these real estate schemes, promising to pay these individuals back. Anderson used her false interest in the expensive real estate to prove to her victims that she was able to pay back the loans, but never did. Anderson’s excuses for her inability to pay the earnest money deposit and the loans included her false claims of a cancer diagnosis and freezes on her bank accounts, among other excuses.
The total actual loss to victims is between $1.5 and $3.5 million.
“To cover up her expansive fraud scheme, the defendant preyed upon victims’ sympathies, including making false statements about having cancer,” Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar stated today. “Such behavior is not only unconscionable, but also a serious federal crime. I am proud of the hard work of the FBI and Madison County Sheriff’s Office, which brought Anderson to justice and will restore some measure of resolution to the victims.”
“With this guilty plea, Ms. Anderson has finally accepted responsibility for her actions; and those who were manipulated and suffered losses because of her deceit will see justice served,” stated Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador. “FBI Richmond appreciates the partnership of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Western District of the United States Attorney’s Office during this investigation. If you suspect fraud, please report it to tips.fbi.gov or to your local FBI office.”
Anderson pleaded guilty yesterday to three counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 2, and faces up to 20 years imprisonment on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the case.