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Salt Lake City man pleads guilty in connection with crime spree

Published March 1, 2013 5:23 pm

Courts • The man pleads guilty, his alleged female accomplice is expected to plead, as well.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Salt Lake City man has pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with a crime spree in which he and a female accomplice allegedly stole more than 250 people's personal information.

Joseph Lee Chatwin, 41, and Shauntae Leah Stratton, 24, were charged in U.S. District Court last year with identity theft, mail theft and bank fraud, among other charges. Chatwin also faced drug possession, resisting arrest and firearm charges.

But as part of a plea agreement, Chatwin pleaded guilty on Friday to bank fraud and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The agreement includes a recommendation for 12 years in federal prison followed by 60 months of supervised release.

Farmington police apprehended the duo on July 17 inside a stolen motor home at the Lagoon campground, but police say Chatwin kicked out the window of an officer's car and escaped.

Officers tried to nab Chatwin a month later outside a Sandy home, but he fled and led officers on a high speed chase through three cities. Officers spiked the tires of the car he was driving and, after he brandished a gun at law enforcement, they finally arrested him.

As part of the plea agreement, Chatwin admitted that he and Stratton stole a woman's purse in May and used her personal information to buy the $30,000 motor home. In his admission, Chatwin also said that Stratton allegedly opened a bank account with two other victims' funds with Chatwin's knowledge and approval. Chatwin also admitted that he led officers on the chase and that he brandished a 9 mm Ruger handgun.

The amount of restitution Chatwin owes the victims will be determined at his sentencing, which is scheduled for June 3.

Stratton, who initially pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Tuesday.

mmcfall@sltrib.comTwitter: @mikeypanda