W. Pa. woman admits to posing as rodeo star

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges that she scammed more than 700 cellphones and two handmade saddles by posing as a rodeo star.

Susan Rowan, 39, of Vanderbilt pleaded guilty today to five counts of mail fraud in connection with her theft of the identity of professional barrel racer Sherry Cervi of Arizona.

Prosecutors say Rowan opened a corporate account with Sprint by posing as Cervi and her associates. The scam cost Sprint $432,000 in phones and services and cost a saddle-maker $8,000 between July 2008 and Feb. 2010.

Rowan also used a fake email account to conduct online relationships with three men who flew into western Pennsylvania thinking they were going to meet Cervi.

Public defender Linda E.J. Cohn says she disputes the prosecution’s loss totals.

Cervi is a two-time world champion racer from Arizona.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 2.

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