CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three final defendants were sentenced in a sophisticated fraud conspiracy that cost AEP nearly $600,000.
U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver handed down sentences Tuesday to Karen Hodges, and Mark and Crystal Ingram. Seven other people who participated in the scheme to submit fraudulent damage claims were sentenced in August.
Hodges, 39, of St. Albans received a prison term of one year and one day, for defrauding the utility company of $38,000. She also invited others to join in the plan.
The judge called her involvement in the scheme "considerable" and said he was also influenced by her past criminal record, which included more than 75 worthless check charges. Hodges previously served a prison sentence in that case.
"It does seem important to set a sentence that protects the public," Copenhaver said.
Hodges will report to a federal facility Nov. 16. She has also been ordered to pay at least $100 monthly to AEP.
Hodges was one of a group of individuals, including one AEP employee, who filed fraudulent claims for damages caused by power surges.
Former Winfield resident Deborah Farmer, 47, a damage adjuster for AEP who recruited people to submit those false claims and share the proceeds with her, was sentenced recently to three years in prison.
Also on Tuesday, Copenhaver sentenced the Ingrams — husband and wife — for their roles in the theft.
Mark Ingram, 42, will serve one year and one day in prison and Crystal Ingram, 32, will serve eight months home confinement and five years probation. Both are Nitro residents.
Copenhaver said Mark Ingram's past criminal history of kidnapping and malicious wounding charges, for which he served a prison term, affected his current sentence.