By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Gillette woman convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from various individuals and the Internal Revenue Service through three separate schemes, including one run while she was staying at Cheyenne’s Fairfield Inn, has been sentenced to almost three years in prison.
Alexa Kinney was sentenced to 33 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for wire fraud, using an unauthorized access device and making false claims to the Internal Revenue Service. She was also ordered to pay restitution in total of $172,400 to her victims.
“Alexa Kinney’s sentence shows attempts to defraud individuals and the federal government for one’s own personal gain will not be tolerated,” said Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge for Wyoming. “IRS:CI will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who try to take from others what they are not rightfully entitled to.”
She initially faced 45 years in prison for on charges filed in connection with allegations she scammed one Cheyenne woman of $165,000, used a man’s credit card to pay for a rental car and lodging and improperly applied for a coronavirus stimulus payment with the IRS.
She pleaded guilty to the charges in January.
Kinney was accused of living in various hotels across Wyoming, often using money raised fraudulently to pay her bills.
According to court documents, Kinney, while staying at Cheyenne’s Fairfield Inn in 2019, defrauded a Cheyenne woman of $165,000. Kinney told the woman she would invest the money, but she kept it for herself, documents said.
An investigation revealed Kinney used the money for her personal expenses and to pay off creditors.
M.F. was not Kinney’s only victim in 2019, however, according to court documents.
In March 2019, Kinney met T.S. on a dating website, where she claimed she was a legal consultant. In May 2019, T.S. contacted Kinney regarding a legal matter and agreed to pay her $1,800 to act as his legal consultant.
T.S. provided Kinney with his credit card to make the payment, the only time he authorized her to use his card. A few weeks later, Kinney began charging food and hotel expenses to the card.
Text messages between the two showed Kinney claimed there was a merchant mix-up and that whenever she used her company credit card, T.S.’s card was mistakenly charged.
Additionally, in April 2020, Kinney applied to receive a stimulus check for $1,200 through the IRS’ website. She had not filed a 2019 tax return and was required to submit tax return and income information.
However, Kinney claimed that she was not required to file a 2019 tax return form because her gross income for the year was less than $12,200, which was a false statement, since she’d received at least $165,000 in taxable income from M.F. in 2019.