September 19, 2014

Medina
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Wadsworth business owner faces federal charges

CLEVELAND — The owner of Fortress Computers, a Wadsworth company, is facing federal charges that allege she used the business to defraud the U.S. Postal Service and commit credit card fraud.

Cheyenne Hall, 28, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of theft of government funds, credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft in front of U.S. District Judge Dan Polster.

Her April 6 indictment alleges that between July and September 2010, Hall embezzled postal service insurance payments for making fraudulent claims totaling $6,631. Hall allegedly claimed she mailed packages that were not delivered to customers, and then collected insurance money. Theft of government funds is a third-degree felony.

Hall also allegedly used the Internet to obtain information on about 20 credit cards, which she then used to purchase $28,794.13 worth of money, goods and services over a one-year period. Credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft are fourth-degree felonies, according to the indictment.

Hall’s bond was set at $20,000.

Polster granted a motion for a psychiatric evaluation of Hall requested by Assistant U.S. attorney Greg Sasse. The motion states that during the course of the investigation, Hall reportedly displayed irrational behavior that could indicate a mental disorder, possibly a dissociative identity disorder.

In late September, Wadsworth police alerted customers of Fortress Computers, 192 College St., to review credit and debit account statements for unauthorized transactions made over the Internet.

At the time, Hall said she believed someone hacked into Fortress Computers’ system to obtain credit information on customers.

On its website, which apparently is no longer in service, the company had said it was Christian-based and donated 20 percent of its profits to charity.

In addition to Wadsworth police, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.