Smithfield woman sentenced for fraud, identity theft

Published 11:56 pm Monday, February 7, 2011

A Smithfield business owner was sentenced Monday to more than five years in prison for wire fraud and identity theft convictions.

Linda T. Rowland, 61, of Smithfield, was sentenced to 68 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She also was ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution.

Rowland and her husband owned and operated the Rowland Equipment Company in Smithfield for more than 30 years. The company sold and maintained tractors, farming equipment and other outdoor power equipment and helped customers obtain financing for equipment purchases.


Email newsletter signup

According to court documents, Rowland falsified loan agreements to obtain money from several financial services companies for more than a decade, from 1998 through August 2009. She used the names and personal information of customers and others in Smithfield — a total of 34 individuals — to complete loan agreements for the supposed purchase of equipment from her business.

Rowland eventually obtained more than 120 loans valued in excess of $2 million. As a result, five financial services companies suffered about $1.5 million in losses.

She has repaid about $300,000, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police and the Smithfield Police Department.