Losses almost $1.5 million
update October 18, 2017
A judge sentenced an Oklahoma woman on Tuesday to 63 months in federal prison for using a horse trailer dealership to defraud almost $1.5 million. Ericka Kathleen Smith, 34, now goes by Ericka Benman, according to court documents from Cleveland County.
Benman, of Norman, pleaded guilty in January to bank and bankruptcy fraud. She bought and sold horse trailers and trucks through the trailer business registered as Longhorn Ranch Trailer Sales of Kansas City Inc, a Kansas company.
Benman defrauded Frontier State Bank in May 2011 by making false statements about her income when applying for a loan. The loan allowed her to purchase a truck for $68,000. It was collateral to protect the bank’s funds. She created a false lien release to sell the truck to a Texas customer of Longhorn Ranch Trailer Sales for $73,000. Benman failed to notify the bank.
Benman also committed fraud during her 2012 bankruptcy by giving false testimony regarding the sold truck financed by Frontier State Bank. She claimed she sold it to a person in Calfornia for $16,000.
The court found that Benman’s fraud caused almost $1.5 million in losses and involved “sophisticated means”.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case leading to Benman’s prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry A. Kelly.
The defendant’s sentence also includes five years supervised release and almost $1.2 million in restitution to eight financial institutions.
Benman begins her prison sentence on October 31.
Norman Riding Academy
Benman operates Norman Riding Academy where she offers horseback riding lessons and horse training. She advertises that Ericka Benman Performance Horses operates out of Norman Riding Academy, which is located at 1500 60th Avenue Northwest in Norman.
Benman offers group and private English and Western horseback riding lessons for children and adults. Despite Benman’s upcoming prison date, the Norman Riding Academy is still offering Groupons for sale. We have made Groupon aware of the issue.
It does not appear that her farm’s clients are aware of her identity or federal crimes. We attempted to reach several through social media, but none have responded.
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