Woman sentenced to 3 years in jail for gift card fraud

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A federal judge sentenced a Summerville woman to three years in jail on Wednesday for her role in a gift card Ponzi scheme.

Authorities say 44-year-old Annette Marie Bussart, who was also ordered to pay over $880,000 in restitution, took gift cards from American Express, Walmart, Target, Shell, and Visa and gave them to friends and acquaintances in the Columbia area at a 20% to 50% discount off face value.

The cards were real and worked at retail stores, but Benson was paying face value for the cards and making up for the loss on old sales with money coming in for new cards.

Eventually, the money Benson received could not cover her outstanding obligations, and the Ponzi scheme collapsed, authorities said.

42 victims have been identified, and each will get a share of whatever Benson is able to pay towards the $880,000 owed. At the time of sentencing, she had negative income.

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