FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS THREE MEN IN INSURANCE MURDER FRAUD AND ARSON
DAVID SAMUELS, age 44, a resident of New Orleans, JERMAINE SURTAIN, age 32, a resident of New Orleans, and CHARLES MOSS, age 36, a resident of Detroit, Michigan, were convicted by a federal jury today of a multi-count indictment following a 7-day trial, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
Specifically, all three defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to devise a scheme to defraud two life insurance companies by obtaining in 2003 fraudulent life insurance policies on Treyor August, the victim, and then participating in his murder in 2004.
In addition to the conspiracy count, the jury convicted:
1. SAMUELS on ten counts of mail and wire fraud relating to the life insurance and the attempt to collect on the life insurance; one count of use of fire to commit obstruction of justice; one count of use of fire to commit mail fraud, both involving the burning of his van weeks after the murder to cover up evidence; and the 2004 insurance fraud in getting comprehensive insurance coverage on the van the week after the murder. Additionally, the jury convicted SAMUELS of a 2002 arson committed to obtain homeowners insurance proceeds and one count of making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobbaco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2008, when he denied knowing of the 2003 insurance policies.
2. MOSS of one count of use of fire to commit obstruction of justice in the burning of the Samuels van in 2004 and one count charging the 2002 arson committed to obtain homeowners proceeds.
3. SURTAIN with one count of use of fire to commit obstruction of justice in the burning of Samuels’ van in 2004.
SAMUELS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 260 years, $3,750, 000 in fines, and three (3) years of supervised release; MOSS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 35 years, $750,000 in fines, and three (3) years of supervised release; SURTAIN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years, $250,000 in fines, and three (3) years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for May 19, 2011 before U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon.
The case resulted from a two year investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Orleans Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Tony Gordon Sanders, Bill McSherry and Michael E. McMahon.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org