DOJ Seal Department of Justice  

United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009                                                    PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER                                DIRECT: (409) 981-7902 CELL: (409) 553-9881


Ordered to pay $53k in restitution

            TEXARKANA, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 48-year-old Nash, Texas woman has been sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

MARIAN HARRIST pleaded guilty on Feb. 25, 2009, to wire fraud and was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge David Folsom.  Harrist was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $53,345.35 to cover the loss to all victims of this fraud. 

According to information presented in court, Harrist conspired to create a scheme to defraud people who were selling items over the internet.  Harrist would search Internet classified websites for merchandise or services for sale.  She would then contact the sellers by email and offer to buy the merchandise or service and would send the seller a counterfeit bank check or counterfeit money order in an amount higher than the selling price of the merchandise/service.  The seller was unaware that the check or money order was counterfeit.  Once the seller received the counterfeit check or money order, Harrist would ask the seller to wire the difference between the item's/service's sale price and the counterfeit check's excess amount to Harrist to cover expenses related to the purchase.  The seller would deposit the counterfeit check/money order into his/her account, and then wire the requested amount to Harrist.  The seller would then be held responsible for any loss attributable to the counterfeit check or money order.  Harrist was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 7, 2008. 

Harrist is to report to the U.S. Marshal Service in August to be transported to a Bureau of Prisons facility to begin serving her sentence.  

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Nash Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Simpson.


back to top