Woman sentenced in summer 2012 crime spree

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 07, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah woman accused in a crime spree that lasted for weeks, spanned at least three counties and left more than 200 victims is now headed to federal prison.

Prosecutors said Shauntae Leah Stratton and her boyfriend Joseph Lee Chatwin were behind a massive crime spree last summer. Allegations against the pair include bank fraud, identity theft and burglaries.

According to prosecutors, Chatwin turned a $30 cashier’s check into a $30,000 check, then used it to buy an RV, which was used as their base of operation.

Police caught up with them in Farmington last summer, but Chatwin was able to escape out of the back of a police car while Stratton fought with police. Stratton was arrested that day, and Chatwin was found later.

Stratton was sentenced on Friday to nearly three years in federal prison. Chatwin is currently serving 12 years in federal prison.

Chatwin and Stratton's alleged crimes spanned several counties and more than ten agencies, so it took investigators some time to connect them.

"What happens is these same subjects are committing these crimes in multiple jurisdictions and it's ineffective for multiple police agencies to be doing the same investigations on different crimes," said Michael Mantyla, resident agent in charge for the U.S. Secret Service.

But officials say this kind of case that will be helped by the revamped Attorney General's ID Theft Task Force, headed by the U.S. Secret Service.

The Secret Service will bring more resources to the table to help police track suspects like Chatwin and Stratton and hopefully prevent massive crime sprees.

"Federal, state and local law enforcement officers as well as bank and financial institution investigators, because a lot of times banks are the first to become aware of this crime," Mantyla said. "We're communicating on suspects and crimes and collaborating and bringing these cases together when we need to."

Federal involvement will also bring penalties in prisons outside Utah.