A Hawkins woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing a person’s stimulus payment and using the check to open a fraudulent bank account.

Brianna Clarisse Banks, 24, pleaded guilty this week to theft of government money before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne.

Court information stated Banks stole a $1,200 check that was meant for someone’s post office box in Avinger in April 2020. Banks then used the check to get the victim’s name, Social Security number and date of birth to open a checking account.

Banks used her own mailing address for the address on the account, according to court information. She then deposited the check into the fraudulently opened bank account, withdrew funds and spent the money for her own personal benefit.

Banks was indicted Jan. 20 this year, and under federal law, she could face 10 years in federal prison.

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