The curious case of Joyell J.D. Riley — the non-profit organization operator who was known in her community of Mansfield, OH for distributing food to veterans — has reached its anti-climactic end, at least in federal court.
Back in late June, federal prosecutors hit her with a wire fraud charge over a GoFundMe campaign she launched in which she claimed to be a highly decorated Marine veteran and breast cancer survivor. Authorities said she never served in the military at all, and no record of breast cancer treatment could be found.
Over 30 people in various states donated $3,515 to the campaign, hence the wire fraud charge in federal court.
Riley initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, calling the case ‘bullcrap,’ however changed her tune in Cleveland’s U.S. District Court last week and accepted a plea of guilty.
“It’s better than fighting this whole thing in court,” Riley said Monday of taking a plea bargain. “It’s easier to take the plea bargain and I just want to put all this crap behind me. It is what it is.”
She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine in that case, though her lawyer doesn’t think she’ll get hit with the maximum penalty. She returns to court for sentencing on December 5th.
Although her federal charge is out of the way, she also has multiple charges in Richland County including theft, forgery, and tampering with records. She is accused of applying the very sophisticated tactic of faking military records through artistic application of Wite-Out.
We will, of course, keep you updated on the sentencing outcome.