September 21, 2014
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced a Montana woman to more than four years in prison for stealing a missing South Carolina woman's identity and using it to attend an Ivy League school.
Esther Reed told the judge in Greenville Wednesday that she pretended to be Brooke Henson to try to start a new life to escape a dysfunctional family. She says she meant no harm.
Reed pleaded guilty in August to federal fraud and identity theft charges and had faced much more prison time. She had attended Columbia University as a graduate student for two years under Henson's name.
The judge called Reed a sophisticated person who stole people's identities and defrauded the government.
Investigators say they don't think Reed was involved in Henson's 1999 disappearance.
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