Woman used fallen officer's funds to pay for cell phone bill

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

CHANDLER, Ariz. – A Chandler woman faces theft charges for allegedly taking money from a fallen officer’s account to pay her cell phone bill.

Police say Stephanie Pringle, who also goes by the name Stephanie Smith, paid $302.73 to T-Mobile for her personal cell phone usage using funds established for Det. Carlos Ledesma following his death.

An unauthorized electronic debit was processed on August 10. Wells Fargo was notified of the breach the following day and the bank issued a refund to the account and tracked the transaction to T-Mobile.

Investigators contacted Pringle who initially denied paying her cell phone bill with funds from the officer’s memorial account.

Detectives were able to prove that Pringle had been home in Chandler on the date of the transaction and completed the payment using her home computer.

Police also say they obtained a recorded conversation between Pringle and her boyfriend, who is in jail on unrelated charges, where she said she had paid the bill on Aug. 10.

Pringle was sent to prison after it was determined she had violated her parole. She faces one count of identity fraud and one count of attempted theft charges.

Chandler police urges everyone establishing a bank memorial account to set it up as a deposit only account with rules as to who can access the account.