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McHenry woman gets 5 years in secret shopper scheme

ROCKFORD – A McHenry woman was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution for her role in a secret-shopper scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a news release.

Gloria Denise Ford, 45, pleaded guilty in July to mail fraud. She was ordered Tuesday to pay about $69,000 in restitution and also serve three years of supervised release.

In the scheme, victims received at least one counterfeit money order. They were told to deposit the money order in their bank, withdraw a certain percentage as payment for their services, and then wire back the balance via Western Union.

Ford mailed more than $1,000,000 in counterfeit money orders to victims around the country and received at least $12,000 in payments, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Victims reported their experience, believing they were a secret shopper hired to evaluate a local business, according to the news release.

During the scheme, Ford received about 10 packages from Nigeria, the United Kingdom and France, which contained counterfeit money orders ranging from $800 to $1,000 each.

“The participants in the scheme received the proceeds via the wire transfers before the victims learned that the money orders were counterfeit,” the news release said.

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