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Milton woman sentenced for fraud

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Kevin Murphy
May 12, 2010
— A former Milton woman whose $25,000 credit card fraud scheme ended in September when she set her car on fire on I-39/90 in Janesville was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 18 months in prison.

Leah M. Pospisil, 29, was addicted to heroin when she was recruited into a multi-state credit card scheme by two Chicago men who used “skimming machines” to fraudulently obtain credit card numbers, said her attorney, Jack Hoag.


Pospisil was given identification cards on which to place her photo and was told at which casinos to use the fraudulent cards, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Graber said.


Beginning in Shreveport, La., in September 2007, Pospisil obtained thousands of dollars in cash advances at casinos in Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan and Illinois, according to an affidavit filed in court by a Missouri highway patrol officer. In December 2007, Pospisil was arrested in Aurora, Ill., for using a stolen credit card and pleaded guilty to identity theft.


After her arrest, Pospisil continued to use stolen credit cards in 15 fraudulent transactions totaling $12,500 in Mississippi and Missouri between Jan. 30 and Feb. 24, 2008, according to the affidavit.


On Sept. 26, Pospisil was at her parents’ Milton home and became upset upon learning that her mother had given Pospisil’s child to the child’s father, said Hoag. Edgerton and Milton police were dispatched to Pospisil’s parents’ home in response to a report that Pospisil was threatening her family with a gas can.


Pospisil fled and drove at 100 mph before drenching herself in gas and setting her car on fire on the Interstate in Janesville. In December, she was placed on five years probation in Rock County Court and then indicted in federal court in Missouri on credit card fraud charges.


Her case was transferred to federal court here, and she pleaded guilty earlier this year.


On Tuesday, Hoag asked District Judge Barbara Crabb to impose a sentence of 15 months or less, saying Pospisil was a minor play in the credit card scheme and has been “clean from heroin” for more than a year. The car chase and arson last September were due more to her being upset with her family than the credit card fraud.


“She wants to start a new life with a job in Las Vegas and someday return to (parent) her child,” Hoag told Crabb.


Graber said a slightly longer sentence was needed for the string of offenses that escalated from retail theft to arson and fleeing authorities.


“She needs a slap in the face to wake up. If she keeps this up, she’ll be doing life in prison on the installment plan,” Graber said.


Crabb said Pospisil needs a “timeout” to allow her to develop the coping skills she’ll need when faced with difficult choices after being released from prison.


Crabb also placed Pospisil on five years supervised release and ordered her to repay $2,700 to three casinos in Missouri.



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