Fayette County woman posed as rodeo star to get cellphones and saddles
A Fayette County woman posed as a rodeo star to meet men and scam 700 cellphones out of Sprint.
Susan Rowan, 39, of Vanderbilt pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court, Downtown, to five counts of mail fraud in connection with stealing the identity of professional barrel racer Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz. She used the scam to get two handmade saddles from an Adams County saddle maker.
Rowan and her attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Linda Cohn, declined comment after the hearing. There was no answer at the number listed for Cervi.
Rowan opened a corporate account with Sprint by posing as Cervi, Cervi's relatives and business associates in a fictional company called “Hanson Industries,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen. She used email exchanges to convince a San Antonio representative of Sprint Communications that the business was legitimate, he said.
Between July 2008 and February 2010, Rowan placed bulk orders for cellphones and had hundreds shipped to various addresses. She picked up most of the shipments herself and handed out phones to relatives claiming that they were free to use on a trial basis.
Rowan returned 170 phones to Sprint.
“She burned the rest in a field next to her parents' house,” Kitchen said.
Rowan used the same email account to conduct online relationships with three men who flew into Western Pennsylvania thinking they were going to meet Cervi, he said.
In all, the estimated loss to Sprint was $432,000. The Adams County saddle maker, identified only as J.R.W. in court documents, lost $8,000 in making two saddles that he thought were going to Cervi, Kitchen said.
Although Rowan admits to committing the crime, she disputes the amount of loss to Sprint, Kitchen said.
U.S. District Judge David Cercone scheduled sentencing for July 2. Rowan remains free on a $10,000 bond.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Golf outing bolsters cancer patient fund at Kittanning hospital
- Groups looking to stage Day of Prayer at new school in Manor
- Penguins pushing to sell playoff tickets
- Armstrong’s roads less-traveled get funding for drainage improvements
- Marte’s bat, Worley’s arm show improvement in Pirates win
- Armstrong gets fourth officer trained to spot drugged drivers
- Leader Times roundup: Kittanning takes down West Shamokin
- Penguins stars Crosby, Malkin enduring playoff slump
- McKeesport’s Lake Emilie ready for trout season
- Arnold family back home after gas leak
- Mackey: For Pens’ Winnik, playing with Crosby an ongoing process