United States v. Patricia Diane Clark
Court Docket Number: 3:13-cr-00163-FDW-DCK
This case is assigned to Chief Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 401 West Trade Street, Room 210, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202.
On June 4, 2013, charges were filed in the Western District of North Carolina against Patricia Diane Clark, a/k/a "Trisha Forbes" and "Trisha Clark" charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud (Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 1349), five counts of wire fraud (Counts 2-6: 18 U.S.C. § 1343), one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering (Count 7: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)), and three counts of international money laundering (Counts 8-10: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A)) stemming from her role in a $4.1 million Costa Rica-based fraudulent sweepstakes telemarketing scheme. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $4,133,908.34. The Court conducted a Competency Hearing on September 3, 2014 and concluded that the Defendant is competent to proceed consistent with federal law. A Docket Call is set for November 3, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 1 of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
According to the indictment, Clark and her co-conspirators operated a fraudulent telemarketing call center, also referred to as a boiler room, located in Costa Rica. The defendant conspired with others to defraud United States residents, most over the age of 55, out of millions of dollars by deceiving them into believing that each had won a large monetary prize in a "sweepstakes contest." Calls to victims were made from Costa Rica using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which utilized computers to make telephone calls over the Internet, disguising the originating location of the calls. Victims were informed that the callers were purportedly from the Federal Trade Commission and that to receive their "prize," they were to wire thousands of dollars for a purported "refundable insurance fee." As long as the victims continued to pay, the co-conspirators continued to solicit them to send more money. If a victim was reluctant to send money directly to Costa Rica, the telemarketers would tell the victim to wire the money to a Western Union or MoneyGram office in California in Clark’s name, claiming she was an "agent" of the sweepstakes company. In fact, Clark would send the money to the telemarketers after taking a percentage of the fraud proceeds for herself.
Additionally, please be aware that most criminal cases are resolved by a plea agreement. It is not unusual for a defendant to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before a trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide you notice of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. Because short deadlines can occur you should be aware that we update this webpage frequently and therefore you should check this webpage for the latest information related to this case. In addition, if you have any views about a possible guilty plea that may result from this case, or any other aspect of the case, you can submit your views in writing to Pamela Washington at: U.S. Department of Justice, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, Room 4416, Washington, D.C. 20530 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further, if you desire to be notified of any change in plea in this case, you should call or email her at your earliest convenience.
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Related case: Related cases pending in the Western District of North Carolina, United States v. Glen Adkins, Jr., and Warren F. Tonsing, Jr. (Court Docket No. 3:12-cr-00259) and United States v. Jeffrey Robert Bonner et al. (Court Docket No. 3:13-cr-21.