Crime - Sacto 911

Fugitive dubbed ‘Bank Robbing Babe’ arrested in Fairfield

A woman who failed to appear for sentencing after pleading guilty to her role in a Sacramento-based bank fraud scheme four years ago has been arrested in Fairfield.

Niesha Nicole Jackson, 34, was featured on CNBC’s program “American Greed: The Fugitives” and was labeled the “Bank Robbing Babe,” according to a federal Department of Justice news release. When she was arrested, authorities said, she had in her possession at T-shirt with “BR Babe” printed on it.

According to court documents, Jackson was part of a bank fraud scheme that netted between $1 million and $2 million in losses to 37 banks in 2007 and 2008. The organizers, operating from California, sent runners to Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas to use “pre-paid” credit cards at banks for cash advances.

Although the cards had only small amounts of money available, the runners would tell bank tellers to call a toll-free number that was controlled by Jackson and a co-conspirator. Jackson, posing as a card services representative, would mislead the bank employee into believing that thousands of dollars was available on the card, and then instruct the teller what buttons to press on the card terminal to make the transaction go through, authorities said.

After receiving the cash, the runner would keep a portion and the rest of the fraudulently obtained funds would go to the organizers in the Sacramento area.

A federal jury indicted Jackson on July 30, 2009, charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. She pleaded guilty in March 2010, but then failed to appear at her sentencing and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

After receiving information that Jackson was in Fairfield, the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, composed of federal marshals and representatives of state and local agencies, set up surveillance and arrested her at a hotel. She was booked into Sacramento County Jail on Friday.

Seven defendants have been sentenced in the conspiracy, according to federal authorities.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee