Saturday, March 6, 2004

Con artist gets 10 years

Smooth talker admits stealing from banks

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Lottie Mae Stanley was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday after admitting she used charm and phony names to steal money from people in dozens of communities across the country, including a few in southern Ohio.

Federal prosecutors say the 52-year-old Stanley orchestrated an elaborate theft ring and occasionally used runaway children, as well as some of her own 12 kids, to help her defraud banks.

She pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in federal court in St. Louis and was sentenced to 10 years, plus an additional two years from a previous conviction.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Wilkerson said in a statement that Stanley admitted to stealing from at least nine banks in Missouri between 2000 and 2003. He said she did the same thing in at least 11 states, including Ohio, during the past decade.

Although she was wanted by authorities for six years, police have said Stanley lived undetected in Deerfield Township with her husband and several children for at least four months last year.

Police say she kept coming back to the Tristate because she loved the gambling boats on the Ohio River.

She is described as a smooth-talking con artist who has a penchant for disguises and at least 27 aliases. Her criminal record dates back to 1969, and authorities suspect she was criminally active long before they realized what she was up to.

They say Stanley uses her charm to ingratiate herself with bank tellers, acting as if she is forgetful or distracted by the children she often had at her side. She then convinced the tellers to release account information she later used to withdraw thousands of dollars.

Wilkerson said Friday she is suspected of stealing more than $800,000 from banks in 11 states.

Stanley was arrested in Virginia in July after being featured on the America's Most Wanted television show.

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