Dumb but Premeditated Fraud – Stephanie L. Mayer of Simpsonville, SC Pleads Guilty

As I leave Pittsburgh, PA from a speaking engagement on ethics and fraud, I couldn’t help but stop when I read about a 38 year old Simpsonville, SC woman and her attempt at fraud.  A “Bernie Madoff” she isn’t as her fraud lacked creativity and ended quickly.

Every choice has a consequence.  That is a statement that I speak often as I address groups nationwide.  Whether it is Bernie Madoff, his accountant (now charged with fraud), Robert Stanford, Gordon Grigg or a host of others, the reality is whether the fraud lasts for some time or is short lived – in the case of Stephanie L. Mayer – there is a consequence for choices that we make.  If those choices are unethical, then the consequences can’t be good.

According to the US Attorney’s office:

In February 2008, Meyer opened accounts at four brokerage firms including the ultimate victims, The Vanguard Group and Ameriprise jail-cartoonFinancial.  Meyer then deposited worthless checks into the accounts, which resulted in fictitious or “phantom” balances.  Meyer then withdrew $175,000 from the credited Vanguard account and $130,000 from the Ameriprise account before the fraud was detected.

Without intending to sound judgmental, the “real impact” of the current recession wasn’t felt till late summer ’08 or certainly the fall ’08.  Therefore, the question is – what motivated Mayer to take such radical action.  She had to know that passing worthless checks to set up brokerage accounts was a venture that had a short life.

Of course – as reported in the Greenville News – “Until June 2008, Meyer deposited $5.4 million in checks spread across the firms from bank accounts that didn’t have sufficient funds to cover the checks, according to the charges.  She also pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges for mailings to Minnesota and Pennsylvania, according to the charges.”


Frauds, regardless of type, need three things in order to take life – (1) Need; (2) Opportunity and (3) Rationalization.  The question related to the Mayer fraud is what was her (1) need and (2) rationalization?  The obvious opportunity was the method of execution of the fraud – which was amateurish and dumb.  How Mayer effected her fraud shows her lack of experience and hopefully will be taken into account in her pre-sentence report.

Her guilty plea could result in a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00 on each of the two counts to which she pled guilty.  While, I would suspect that Stephanie L. Mayer is an amateur fraudster, in the current environment, I would not be surprised if she received a prison sentence of well over three years.

If you know Stephanie and might comment on her motivation – please know that YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME.

3 Responses to Dumb but Premeditated Fraud – Stephanie L. Mayer of Simpsonville, SC Pleads Guilty

  1. Susan Smith says:

    There is more to the story than published. I have know Stephanie and her family for 10 years and she would never do anything intentionally. There was a bad business deal (with property that was left to her when both of her parents died)that was associated with the returned checks. The person that was on the other end of the bad business deal committed suicide becuase he was being investigated by the Feds. Her sister was the victim of the same guy. She was not by any means planning for this to happen and at the advise of her attorney’s plead guilty and took responsibilty for what happened. The full amount of $300,000 has been paid back effective 2 days after she plead guilty. She will probably not go to prison becuase she has no criminla record and also everything has been paid back unlike Bernie Madoff. I am surprised that it even made it in the Pittsburg Paper and like I said there is more to the story than what was published. Until you know the whole story you need to keep your comments to yourself.

    • As a point of reference, I hope she does not go to prison. However, I made complete restitution plus interest in my crime before I plead guilty and still was sentenced to an active prison sentence.

  2. Beth says:

    she served 18 months in prison. AND guess what? she is out there writing bad checks again!!! This lady needs help, she gets a high from being deceitful and flat out lying to your face. If you come in contact with her, RUN, run very fast!! I feel sorry for her Children.

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