A Myrtle Beach woman indicted by an Horry County grand jury on a prostitution charge spent time in prison in connection with a theft ring that included Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s wife.
Shonya Michelle Young, 41, of Myrtle Beach, was indicted on a prostitution charge that stemmed from an investigation conducted by Myrtle Beach police on May 6, according to Horry County grand jury indictments released Wednesday.
In 2009, Young was arrested and charged in connection with a sophisticated identity theft ring that included Bernanke’s wife among its victims. Young was convicted in March 2010 of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and sentenced to 33 months in prison with credit for the time she had served since her arrest. She also was given five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $125,268.58 in restitution, according to records in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia Alexandria Division.
In July 2011, Young was ordered to serve 90 days in prison and 90 days home confinement with electronic monitoring for failure to pay the restitution. She also was ordered to pay $50 per month beginning in November 2011, according to the order by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris. In February, Young’s restitution payments were increased to $150 per month.
It is unclear if Young is current on her restitution payments, according to records.
Authorities said Young was the girlfriend of one of the ringleaders and cashed checks using a variety of disguises where she posed as the victims, who were targeted in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and elsewhere.
Anna Bernanke’s purse was stolen outside a Capitol Hill coffee shop in August 2008 and a few days later checks were cashed on the Bernankes’ bank account. According to District of Columbia police, the purse contained Anna Bernanke’s Social Security card, checkbook, credit cards and IDs. It has not been revealed how much money was stolen from the couple.
Young would impersonate the victims to obtain fake IDs and cash illegal checks, draining their bank accounts, authorities said.
The ring allegedly stole more than $2.1 million from hundreds of people, and the frauds involved at least 10 financial institutions, according to court documents.
The recent charges stemmed from May in Myrtle Beach when police conducted an undercover prostitution operation in the area of Yaupon Drive and 15th and 16th Avenues South, according to arrest reports. Police arrested Young twice during the investigation hours apart.
Young was charged with first-offense prostitution at 8:10 p.m. May 6 when she was taken into custody at 15th Avenue South and Yaupon Drive, according to an arrest report. Less than eight hours later, records show she was booked into the Myrtle Beach Jail at 4:06 a.m. May 7 for second-offense prostitution after being arrested again at the same location.
Young was indicted on the charge that stemmed from May 6 when she agreed to perform a sexual act for $100, according to the indictments.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723.