CHICAGO — A woman who pleaded guilty to profiting from the deaths of children and young adults who died in homicides, including in Chicago, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Katrina Pierce pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in September 2022.
Last week, a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois sentenced Pierce to 61 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to court documents. Pierce has also been ordered to pay $30,746 in restitution.
According to federal court documents, Pierece obtained the death certificates of dozens of homicide victims and used them to collect thousands of dollars.
All of the certificates were those of people who died in homicides and ages ranged from about two years old to 33 years old, according to the documents.
Federal prosecutors said she collected the death certificates from several places, including Cook County, Springfield, Illinois, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina.
In January 2020, IRS Specials Agents found handwritten notes listing the names of people who died and how they died in bags of her trash.
A special agent noted Pierce also used the identity of at least one person who died in St. Louis, Missouri, to file false tax returns in 2020 and 2021 to get COVID stimulus checks and get a prepaid debit card in his name.
Through their investigation, the special agent noted Pierce had several bank accounts under her name, her alias, dead people and unknown people.
“I am not aware of any legitimate business purpose necessitating Pierece to open so many accounts at so many different financial institutions,” the special agent wrote in the affidavit.
The agent said in her 2019 and 2020 tax returns, Pierce said she worked in “quality assurance.”
“I believe that Pierce has used multiple banks and accounts in an effort to hide or launder the proceeds of her various fraud schemes,” the special agent wrote.