A Charlotte woman will spend the next four years in prison after defrauding hundreds of people, federal prosecutors say.
Carissa Eugenia Brown, 35, duped debtors from across the country into paying her, according to a news release from United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Dena King’s office.
From 2015 to July 2020 Brown contacted people who had been sued by creditors for outstanding debt and “falsely represented that she was authorized to collect the debt on behalf of those creditors,” the release said. She offered the debtors to “settle” for a reduced amount — provided that they paid the reduced amount in full or immediately began paying her, according to the release.
“Brown also employed threatening and harassing pressure tactics to fraudulently induce victims to pay her, including threatening to garnish victims’ wages, to seize victims’ bank accounts, or to file judgments in court if payment on the debt was not received,” the release said.
Brown buttressed her scheme with three businesses that she registered in North Carolina, as well as official-looking documents and voicemails where she pretended to be calling from a law firm, according to court documents.
Victims were stuck between paying their debts twice or staying on the true creditor’s default list.
The total payout: $1.9 million.
She will have to pay the bulk of that as restitution. And she will serve 54 months in prison, and another three years under court supervision once she is released, according to the release.
Brown, who went through multiple attorneys, filed a number of documents pro se. Those included motions to withdraw her own guilty plea.
“Defendant has taken the position throughout this case that the Government has no authority over her (e.g., she espouses ‘sovereign citizen’ theories),” United States Magistrate Judge David Keesler wrote in one court document.
District Judge Max Cogburn denied the motions.
Brown previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. She is in federal custody.