CULPEPER — A Madison County woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud in multiple schemes prosecutors say resulted in the theft of at least $1.5 million from multiple victims.
In orchestrating the fraudulent endeavors, Christine F. Anderson, 51, of Reva, pretended to have terminal cancer, vast wealth and a connection to celebrities, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville.
The defendant owned and operated book publishing companies known as Christine F. Anderson Publishing and Media and Sage Wisdom, according to court documents.
Anderson took money from book authors, but failed to pay them royalties and did not provide products and services as negotiated, the release stated. She often falsely claimed to have been diagnosed as having cancer to delay payment to the book authors along with other falsities, according to the release.
She made elaborate excuses for the failure to pay, including being busy working with the White House on the State of the Union address.
Anderson also admitted to orchestrating a real estate scheme in which she signed contracts for expensive properties, provided false proof of funds and being unable to provide earnest money deposits. She often signed bad checks for the deposits, the release stated.
While implementing real estate contracts, Anderson took money from individuals helping her in these schemes, promising to pay them back. She used her false interest in the expensive real estate to prove to her victims that she was able to pay back the loans, but never did, the release said. The total actual loss to victims is between $1.5 million and $3.5 million.
“To cover up her expansive fraud scheme, the defendant preyed upon victims’ sympathies,” Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Bubar said in a statement.
“Such behavior is not only unconscionable, but also a serious federal crime. I am proud of the hard work of the FBI and Madison County Sheriff’s Office, which brought Anderson to justice and will restore some measure of resolution to the victims,” he said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador said that Anderson, with Monday’s guilty plea, finally has accepted responsibility for her actions.
“Those who were manipulated and suffered losses because of her deceit will see justice served,” he said in a statement.
Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 2 and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.
Those with information about this case or who believe they have been a victim of fraud are urged to call the FBI office in Charlottesville at (434) 293-9663.