TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Six people have been arrested on a federal indictment alleging money laundering violations. Tracey Lynn Brookshier, 51, of Tyler, is one of the six that’s accused of exploiting older Americans.
U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox. said the accused “target seniors here at home through believable scams designed to rob them of hard-earned savings”. Allegedly they formed call centers and contacted victims, some of whom were located in the Eastern District of Texas, directly targeting elder victims to transfer funds to the defendants and other co-conspirators.
The indictment alleges that they impersonated Social Security Administration and IRS/Department of Treasury officials. Callers allegedly claimed that the victim’s Social Security number had been suspended because of suspicious activity and could be reactivated by payment of some amount. Other callers allegedly claimed that victims owed back taxes and were required to satisfy the fictional debt to avoid threatened legal action.
Some callers allegedly posed as employees of mortgage companies. Victims, who included borrowers with mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Federal Housing Administration, were promised lower rates through fictitious loan modifications and, in some instances, threatened with foreclosure if they did not agree to pay for the loan modification.
The indictment further alleges that victims wired funds to locations in the Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere. The indictment charges that the defendants’ money laundering conspiracy involved more than 4,000 victim wire transfers that totaled over $3.2 million.
The indictment also charges that the defendants created fictitious companies and then deposited victim funds into bank accounts opened in the names of these fictitious companies. The defendants are alleged to have made cash withdrawals of the fraudulently-obtained money and transferred some of the proceeds to other accounts, some of which were located outside of the United States. According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a money-laundering conspiracy from July 2012 to September 2019.
A federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment on June 18, charging a money laundering conspiracy and operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. The individuals charged include:
Jeremy Christopher Jones, 45, of Kansas City, Kansas;
John Arthur Fuss, 69, of Wartrace, Tennessee;
Perry Lewis Crenshaw, Jr., 26, of Pensacola, Florida;
Mary Elizabeth Booth, a/k/a Mary Beaman, 39, of Hammond, Louisiana;
Ronnie Duane Booth, 37, of Hammond, Louisiana; and
Tracey Lynn Brookshier, 51, of Tyler, Texas.
All six defendants were arrested in other districts and then later made court appearances in the Eastern District of Texas. Beaman, Booth, and Brookshier were all arrested on July 6 in Louisiana and arraigned on July 22.
Jones, Beaman, Booth, and Brookshier were separately charged with operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business in the State of Texas.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison on the money laundering conspiracy charge and up to 5 years on the charge of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Any proceeds are also subject to forfeiture.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). The hotline is staffed 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern time. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, and the United States Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Coan.