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Two local people plead guilty to scam targeting retirees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2012

St. Louis, MO - Andre Depass and Jayneise Hampton entered guilty pleas involving their participation in a scam targeting retirees residing throughout the United States.

According to court documents, between November 2009 and March 2012, Nollis Hudson telephoned retirees to advise them that they had won the Jamaican lottery and that they needed to electronically transmit or mail funds to pay the taxes on their prize. Hudson allegedly used the personal information obtained from the retirees and through other means to obtain electronic access to accounts held by Social Security beneficiaries. Through the access, Hudson was able to change the method by which the retirees received their Social Security retirement benefits to financial accounts Hudson controlled, as well as their mailing address to the St. Louis address of Andre DePass and Jayneise Hampton. The changes would cause the Treasury Department to disburse the retirees’ benefits to prepaid debit cards tied to the fraudulently obtained financial accounts through which DePass and Hampton would make purchases and withdraw funds. DePass and Hampton kept 20% of the value of the cards and wired the balance to Hudson in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

ANDRE DEPASS, St. Louis, MO, pled guilty to two felony counts of wire fraud, one felony count of mail fraud, one felony count of conspiracy to defraud, one felony count of identity theft and a felony count of possession of 15 unauthorized access devices. JAYNEISE HAMPTON, St. Louis, MO, pled guilty to two felony counts of wire fraud, one felony count of mail fraud, and one felony count of conspiracy. Both appeared before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson. Sentencings have been set for October 25, 2012.

Co-defendant Nollis Hudson, Montego Bay, Jamaica, still faces two felony counts of wire fraud, one felony count of mail fraud, one felony count of conspiracy to defraud, one felony count of identity theft and one felony count of aggravated identity theft. He is a fugitive.

Each count of wire and mail fraud carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; identity theft carries a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison; possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison; conspiracy carries a maximum of 5 years. The count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory term of 2 years in prison that must be consecutive to any term of incarceration imposed. Each penalty bears fines of not more than $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, the Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Defendant Hudson is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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