Chicago woman sentenced for defrauding Kmart in 11 states

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) A 40-year-old Chicago woman faces nearly four years in federal prison for using fraudulent federal nutrition benefit checks to purchase nearly $220,000 worth of items at Kmart stores in 11 states during a four-month crime spree.

Lynada Laticia Mahone was arrested in Arizona, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in December 2018 and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon in Helena.

Prosecutors say from September to December 2017, Mahone made purchases, including gift cards, using fraudulent Women, Infant and Children program checks. Stores didn't immediately discover the fraud and Mahone made multiple transactions at stores if the scheme was successful.

Prosecutors said Mahone made 56 fraudulent transactions at stores in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

Investigators uncovered video surveillance images of Mahone at Kmart stores throughout the country, including Butte, Montana.

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