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Madison County woman sentenced to 12 years for $1.6 million publishing fraud

A Madison County woman will spend 12 years in prison for perpetrating robust publishing and real estate fraud schemes in which she stole more than $1.6 million.

Christine Favara Anderson, 51, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty last summer to three counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to her prison sentence, Anderson was ordered to pay around $1.6 million in restitution to her victims.

U.S. Attorney Chris R. Kavanaugh said that Anderson “spun a web of lies and fraud so varied and extensive, it defies simple summary.”

Anderson owned and operated the publishing companies known as “Christine F. Anderson Publishing and Media” from 2014 through 2017, and “Sage Wisdom Publishing” from 2017 through 2020, according to court documents.

She took money from book authors but later failed to pay those authors their royalties as owed and did not provide products and services as negotiated.

Additionally, Anderson falsely claimed to have been diagnosed with cancer in order to delay payments to book authors, while also purporting to maintain vast personal wealth and connections to celebrities, according to the release. When authors failed to receive the royalty payments they were owed, she made elaborate excuses for the delays, including claiming to be busy working with the White House on the State of the Union address.

“At bottom, Anderson stole $1.6 million from victims who had placed their trust in her, and then she invented false excuses — like feigned importance, frozen bank accounts, and terminal illness — so she could hold onto these proceeds without repayment,” said Kavanaugh.

In addition to the book publishing scam, Anderson also admitted to orchestrating a real estate scheme where she signed contracts for expensive real estate and provided multiple false proofs of her own funds, but then was unable to provide the earnest money deposits.

Anderson signed checks for earnest money deposits knowing she did not have the funds and the checks would never clear, according to court documents. She convinced other individuals to loan her money for these real estate transactions knowing that she could not and would not ever repay them. Anderson’s excuses for her inability to pay the earnest money deposits and the loans included her false claims of a cancer diagnosis, freezes on her bank accounts, and other ruses.

In an unrelated prosecution, a Charlottesville woman pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges this week for altering and forging checks she obtained without the consent of the check owners.

According to justice department, Samantha Leigh Thomas, 38, stole checks that were not made out to her and she either altered the check to change the name of the payee to her own name or forged the signature of the original payee. Thomas deposited the improperly raised sums into one of five personal checking accounts maintained at five different financial institutions and the eventual loss suffered by all victims exceeded $25,000.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26, 2022, and faces a sentence of up to 32 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors, according to the release.


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