- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A Columbus woman has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public money.

The Department of Justice says in a release that 54-year-old Vicky Wheeler worked as a bank teller at a SunTrust Bank in Columbus and pleaded guilty Thursday.

Between February 2013 and May 2014, Wheeler cashed fraudulent tax refund checks at the request of several individuals in exchange for a fee. The checks were made from tax returns using stolen identities. In total, Wheeler received and cashed 361 fraudulent tax refund checks that claimed $780,760.17.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 12. Wheeler faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The plea agreement stipulates Wheeler will pay restitution in the amount of $780,760.17.

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