Federal authorities have indicted a Mobile County woman accused of defrauding a volunteer sewing group in order to obtain free facemasks so she could resell them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to United States Attorney Richard Moore, Cynthia Flott Williams, of Mount Vernon, was indicted Thursday on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft connected to the alleged scheme.
The indictment accuses Williams of using Facebook messenger to contact members of an informal group that would sew and donate protective masks to help local hospitals and healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the charges, Williams falsely represented that she worked for a local hospital and bolstered that claim with a photograph of a relative’s hospital identification badge.
“Williams falsely promised that she would deliver the free masks she obtained to healthcare workers at local hospitals,” the indictment reads. “Instead of delivering the masks to hospitals and healthcare workers as promised, Williams sold and intended to sell the masks for profit.”
According to Moore, Williams obtained approximately140 free masks using this method.
Toward the end of April, social media posts suggest members of the group “Sewing Good” began to catch on. One member wrote in an April 21 Facebook post that she became suspicious after Williams asked for masks for Mobile Infirmary when the group had just recently donated masks there. After being confronted about it, the member said Williams changed her name on Facebook.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, leading to Williams’ indictment on Thursday.
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