Two Defendants Indicted for Running a Work-From-Home Scam
ATLANTA - Detrick Mattox, 32, and Jasmine Hudson, 29, both from Ellenwood, Georgia, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for operating a “work-from-home scam.” The Indictment charges both defendants with a conspiracy count and twelve separate mail fraud counts. Mattox and Hudson will likely be arraigned on the charges next week.
United States Attorney Sally Q. Yates said, “During these hard times, these defendants are alleged to have targeted individuals who were desperate to earn a living. The defendants work-from-home scheme fleeced those who could least afford it. Now, these defendants must answer for their actions.”
“It gives Postal Inspectors a sense of accomplishment when defendants such as Mattox are brought to justice. However, our best defense is spreading awareness about fraud to make the criminal's job harder,” said Postal Inspector in Charge Keith Morris. “The best way for our customers to protect themselves is to learn how to avoid fraudulent schemes such as reshipping scams, fraud on the Internet and work-at-home schemes.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, Mattox and Hudson ran numerous businesses that purported to offer its members work-from-home opportunities, including:
Atlantas Mailing Company,
Atlantis Mailing Company,
Brown Staffing Services,
Central Mailing Company,
Detrick Mattox Enterprises,
Georgia Assembly Company,
Global Assembly Company,
Global Mailing Enterprises,
Jobs R US,
National Assembly Company,
Nationwide Express Mailing,
Pacific Mailing Company,
Premiere Mailing Company, and
Regional Assembly Company.
In general, Mattox and Hudson, in promoting their supposed work-from-home business opportunity, claimed that members who signed-up and paid an initiation fee would receive materials that allowed members to work and earn up to $5000 per week from their homes. More specifically, the members were supposed to assemble the materials into booklets and mail the booklets to the addresses provided by Mattox and Hudson. Mattox and Hudson also claimed that members could earn up to $20 for each booklet that the members assembled and mailed.
To join the work-from-home program, prospective members had to pay Mattox’s and Hudson’s businesses an up-front initiation fee of approximately $50 to $500. Through their numerous business names, Mattox and Hudson typically instructed prospective members to pay the initiation fee by mailing a money order to the named business. Once the members paid the initiation fee, the majority of the members never received any materials to assemble from the work-from-home businesses. The few members who did receive materials from Mattox’s and Hudson’s businesses, and assembled and then mailed those materials, were never paid for their services. After Mattox’s and Hudson’s businesses received a member's initiation fee, virtually all attempts by the member to contact the work-from-home businesses were ignored. Finally, to avoid consumer complaints and negative public information, Mattox and Hudson frequently changed the names, websites, and contact information of the work-from-home businesses.
According to an affidavit submitted in support of a search warrant obtained in the case, more than 200 people responded to Mattox and Hudson’s advertisements and became members. A Postal Service Inspector then conducted an undercover investigation, responding to Internet advertisements posted by Mattox and Hudson’s businesses but never received the promised materials after sending payment.
The indictment charges one count of conspiracy and 12 counts of mail fraud. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Members of the public are encouraged to consult several helpful resources about these types of scams:
- the Federal Trade Commission hosts a webpage with comprehensive information on work-from-home schemes, http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/invest/inv14.shtm.
- consumers can check for reports on specific businesses using the Better Business Bureau’s webpage, www.bbb.org.
- The FTC and other independent groups maintain webpages that collect consumer complaints on these kinds of scams to allow others to review the complaints and identify potentially fraudulent businesses: http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/, www.ripoffreport.com, and www.scambook.com. http://www.ripoffreport.com,.
This case is being investigated by Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis is prosecuting the case.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.