MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A grand jury indicted four people in the Myrtle Beach area for an international telemarketing scheme that authorities said targeted seniors.
Fabian Gray, Avia Reid, Khalelah Powell and Romaine Gordon, all from Myrtle Beach, were arrested last month and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The 13-count indictment states that since June 2015, the suspects falsely informed more than 100 victims, most of them elderly, that they had won a large amount of money and then convinced the victims that they had to pay fees in advance in order to receive the cash.
The court documents also accuse the defendants of sending communications posing as a genuine sweepstakes company, financial institution and even federal agency to discuss the cash awards. The indictment states it was a way to hide the conspiracy and convince the victims that the winnings were authentic.
The suspects also instructed the victims on how to send the bogus and fees, according to the indictment.
“After receiving the victims’ money through prepaid cards, money orders, cash, personal checks and wire transfers, the defendants in turn wire transferred and carried to co-conspirators in Jamaica and elsewhere,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of South Carolina stated.
The indictment shows that at least $665,000 was stolen during the scheme.
Online records show all four suspects have pleaded not guilty in the case. They are being detained pending trial.
During a detention hearing, information presented to the court showed that all suspects are originally from Jamaica and at least two of the defendants are in the United States without legal status.
If found guilty, the maximum penalty the defendants could receive per count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. And because the indictment accuses them of targeting people over the age of 55, the suspects could face an additional 10 years for the first 12 counts of the indictment.
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