New York officials have announced that former TV star Shannade Clermont from the reality show "Bad Girls Club" has pleaded guilty to charges of felony wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said that Clermont attempted to make over $20,000 in fraudulent charges on a stolen debit card number. After the man who owned the card passed away from an overdose, the former TV star used the card number for several large transactions.
Clermont said in court that she knew that she was guilty of violating the law against wire fraud, according to reports. She became involved in the case after police investigated the man's death in 2017. Clermont visited his apartment the day before his body was found and, while there, took two of the man's debit cards from his wallet before leaving. She was accused of later using the cards to pay her rent and phone bills as well as booking flights for her travel after learning of the death. Clermont is facing time in federal prison, and she will be sentenced in February 2019.
While Clermont may have considered using the cards a victimless crime since the man was dead, the white-collar crime charges against her could lead to serious prison time. Offenders can serve up to 15 or 20 years in prison for a conviction on these types of charges. In many cases, people investigated for fraud or other offenses wind up being charged with lying to investigators because they speak too openly to police or federal agents.
When facing allegations of securities fraud, identity theft, computer offenses or other white-collar crimes, it can be important to work with a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help a defendant present a strong defense and avoid a conviction.