News and Press Releases

Craigslist Scammer Sentenced To 42-Months For Wire Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2012

Memphis, TN – Chief United States District Judge Jon P. McCalla sentenced Laura Williams, 25, of Horn Lake, Mississippi to 42 months of incarceration for her acts of Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343, announced Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

The conduct which formed the basis for Williams’ sentence occurred between February 2009 and April 2010, and involved the use by defendant and others whom she had recruited off the online classified ad service Craigslist to post numerous advertisements offering various theme-park and concert tickets for sale to the public nationwide. Williams did this without having any of the advertised tickets and without any intention of ever fulfilling the orders once they were placed. Williams provided victim-buyers with instructions for sending wire payments through MoneyGram, and she recruited others to assist her in collecting the wired money at various Wal-Mart and Ace Cash Express stores in and around Memphis, Tennessee. Once payments were received, the defendant ceased communicating with the victim-buyers and never provided the advertised tickets.

Through this scheme, the defendant defrauded over 300 individuals and fraudulently obtained more than $70,000.

“Laura Williams was driven by greed and trickery to steal from unsuspecting consumers via the internet,” said Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. “This prosecution and resulting prison sentence is one of many that demonstrates our continued priority of bringing to justice those who engage in fraudulent schemes which victimize innocent citizens.”

“Ms. Williams fleeced unsuspecting customers using trickery and lies without regard for the situations and circumstances of her victims,” said Richard Harlow, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the United States Secret Service. “She stands as an unfortunate reminder that we must all be vigilant in our financial transactions” added Harlow.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United State Attorney Stephen Hall on behalf of the government.

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