St. Louis Woman Faces Over Seventeen Years in Prison
Victoria McGee-Harris, 59, of St. Louis, MO, was sentenced on Friday, February 17, 2012, in federal court, on charges of Mail Fraud and Engaging in a Monetary Transaction over $10,000 in Property Derived from Specific Unlawful Activity, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today.
McGee-Harris received a total sentence of 210 months (seventeen years and six months) in prison, with 3 years supervised release to follow. The Court has not yet determined the exact restitution amount, however, evidence was presented at sentencing of losses of approximately $6,000,000.00.
“Whether you rob people with a gun, or rob them through financial trickery and fraud, we will come after you.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “My office will not hesitate to pursue lengthy and well-deserved sentences for such enormous frauds, even though acts of violence were not used.”
Victoria McGee-Harris, d/b/a Metro East Insurance Group, pled guilty to these charges on March 24, 2011. McGee-Harris was a licensed insurance agent and securities broker registered with Tower Square Securities, Inc., a MetLife Company. She operated out of offices located in Swansea, Illinois. As part of the plea, McGee-Harris admitted that from January 2003 through January 2010, she engaged in a scheme to defraud her clients by enticing her clients into paying money for various investment products and insurance products she never purchased on her clients’ behalf. As part of the plea she admitted that she diverted, deposited and commingled the funds she obtained through her fraudulent schemes into accounts she controlled at various banks. She then diverted the commingled client funds for her own personal use to increase her personal wealth and possessions, to travel to various destinations, to purchase and rehabilitate rental properties, to finance the operation of a chain of clothing stores d/b/a Essential Elements (Chesterfield, MO), Essential Elements (Ladue, MO) and Elements of Denim (Clayton, MO), to pay personal expenses, and to fund investments on behalf of her clients. The Information to which McGee-Harris pled guilty alleged that McGee-Harris diverted a total of $6,045,000.00 in client funds. Evidence was presented at sentencing establishing that there were over 50 victims and that McGee-Harris diverted some of the victims’ money and put the funds in a trust called “Don’t F_ _ _ With Me.”
The prosecution follows an investigation by the Illinois Securities Department, the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.
People who believe they have been a victim of securities fraud should contact the Illinois Securities Department at 1-800-628-7937. If you suspect or know of an individual or company that is not complying with the tax laws, you may report this activity by contacting the local Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation Office at (618) 622-2160 or by mailing information to: Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.