A Billings woman who admitted defrauding a bank and investors with false claims, including that her daughter had died of leukemia, was back in federal court Thursday on charges that she violated release conditions.
Angela Corson Smith, 36, waived a preliminary hearing during an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan. Her case will go before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters.
If Smith is found to have violated conditions of her supervised release, the judge could order her back to prison.
Watters sentenced Smith in May 2014 to 27 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. The judge also ordered $151,000 restitution to seven victims. Smith began her supervised release in July 2016.
At the sentencing, Watters called Smith’s conduct “mind-boggling” and described her pattern of deceit staggering in its scope. Smith pleaded guilty to bank fraud and wire fraud.
Prosecutors said Smith defrauded businesses and individuals of large sums of money by manipulating them with lies about her health, the state of her marriage and her daughter.
Smith also forged her husband’s signature to get a home equity loan from Billings-based Altana Federal Credit Union in 2009. When contacted by credit union employees in 2012 about loan payments, Smith convinced them her daughter had died of leukemia a day earlier. Her daughter was never ill with the disease, prosecutors said.
A petition filed by federal probation officers on March 20 outlines 13 alleged violations of her supervised release. Smith was arrested on Wednesday.
The violations accuse Smith of failing to make monthly restitution payments, failing to comply with employment conditions, not getting prior approval before opening lines of credit, violating computer use and internet access restrictions and associating with convicted felons without prior approval.
One of the violations alleges that Smith used the internet to open a GoFundMe account seeking $5,000 by “falsely portraying her newborn child had severe medical issues and upcoming surgeries,” the petition said.
An investigation also found that Smith had unauthorized internet use and had set up four baby registries with her name and the names of two other men.
One of the men was a parolee who had been in a relationship with Smith and was concerned that he was the father of Smith’s newborn son, the petition said. The parolee and Smith had talked about him moving to Billings, but DNA tests confirmed that he was not the baby’s father, the petition said.
In another alleged violation, Smith was hired as a bookkeeper at Jaker’s Bar and Grill in Great Falls when she was a resident at a pre-release center. She is accused of taking an unauthorized $250 from the company safe on her last day of work, the petition said.
Smith’s court-appointed attorney, Marvin McCann, asked for a detention hearing saying Smith has a four-month old baby to care for along with a 17-year-old and that she was not a flight risk.
Cavan set a detention hearing for March 28 and advised McCann that along with addressing the flight risk, the defense also has the burden to show that Smith is not a danger to community. Danger, Cavan said, includes property offenses.