For Immediate Release - August 21, 2009

Rhode Island Woman Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Stealing Identity of 77 Year-Old Woman

NEW BEDFORD - A Cumberland, Rhode Island, woman pled guilty in Bristol Superior Court yesterday in connection with stealing the identity of a 77-year-old acquaintance and using it to create a fake identification card and to purchase items for personal use. Julie Senechal, age 46, pled guilty to charges of Identity Fraud, Larceny over $250, Forgery and Uttering. Immediately after the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre sentenced Senechal to serve two years in State Prison on the charges of Larceny over $250, Forgery and Uttering. On the charge of Identity Fraud, Senechal was sentenced to two and a half years in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for a probationary period of five years. As a condition of probation, Judge McIntyre ordered that Senechal have no contact with the victim, and that she also not be employed in a position where she has control over money.

Another co-defendant, Julie's mother, Anna Senechal, age 78, also of Cumberland, RI, is also charged with Identity Fraud, Larceny over $250, Forgery and Uttering. Her case is still pending.

In April 2009, the Attorney General's Office reviewed the matter after the Senechals' activities had been referred by the Bristol County District Attorney's Office. Authorities discovered that Julie Senechal had a relationship with the victim through a mutual acquaintance. During the course of their friendship, Julie Senchal used her position of trust to convince the victim to turn over her personal information by claiming that she wanted to set up a trust on behalf of the victim.

In September 2008, the victim contacted the Blackstone Police Department after being notified by a collection company that she was behind on payments for a boat that she had recently purchased. The victim had never purchased a boat. Investigators discovered that Julie Senechal purchased a boat and a trailer valued at over $30,000 in the victim's name by having her mother, Anna Senechal, allegedly pose as the victim at the boat dealership. The Senchals created a fake senior citizen ID card by using a photograph of Anna Senechal combined with the personal information of the victim. To complete the purchase, Anna Senechal allegedly forged the victim's signature on the purchase and sale agreement for the boat.

A Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against both defendants on May 18, 2009. Julie Senechal was arraigned on May 22, 2009, in Bristol Superior Court where she entered a plea of not guilty was held on $50,000 bail. Yesterday, she pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced. Anna Senechal will be arraigned at a later date in Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Stark of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division. The case was primarily investigated by Detective Daniel Arrighi of the North Attleboro Police Department.