Local News

Three-time widow sentenced in federal fraud case

Posted September 3, 2008 11:57 a.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2008 6:16 p.m. EDT

— A woman who received national attention for the mysterious deaths of two husbands was sentenced to two years in federal prison for identity theft.

Sandra Camille Bridewell Powers, 63, pleaded guilty in February to a federal charge of aggravated identity theft in a case involving a Southport widow.

In addition to a prison sentence, she must pay a $250,000 fine, as well as $1,634.28 in restitution. She also received one year of supervised release.

Powers has already served 18 months in jail while awaiting trial, and it is likely she will get credit for time served.

"This has been a humbling experience. It's been difficult and painful," Powers said in court Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to working and to showing love and a connection to Jesus Christ."

Authorities said Powers made unauthorized charges on a credit card belonging to Sue Moseley, 77, diverted Social Security benefits and cashed forged checks totaling more than $2,400.

Moseley let Powers live with her because she thought she was a missionary planning to go overseas, investigators have said. In exchange, Power s helped with chores and became increasingly involved in Moseley's financial affairs.

"Camille has humiliated everybody that calls themselves a Christian and loves the Lord," Moseley said Wednesday afternoon. "She has humiliated these people."

During Powers' sentencing, federal Judge James Dever was critical of Powers, calling her a liar and reminding her that she failed to apologize for her actions.

"You are a deceitful person who preys on people. This disgraceful conduct, that's nothing new for you," he said, noting that her children reported she had committed fraud against them.

Powers is well-known to media and police in Oklahoma City and Dallas, where questions have swirled for more than 20 years as to whether she was involved in the deaths of two of her husbands and a female friend.

According to the Dallas media, Powers' first husband, a dentist, shot himself in 1975. Her second husband, an investor, died of cancer in 1982; and her third husband, a real estate developer, was found slain in December 1985.

Although she is only considered a person of interest in her third husband's death, media outlets in Dallas dubbed her the "Black Widow."

The TV channel A&E is working on a program about the case, and CBS has also contacted the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office about it being a possible topic of its show "48 Hours."