Bluefield, W.Va Resident Pleads to Structuring and Wire Fraud Charges
Audrey Elrod Faces up to 20 Years in Prison for Crimes
ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – A West Virginia woman, who was part of a Nigerian wire fraud scheme, pled guilty yesterday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon.
Audrey Elaine Elrod, 45, of Bluefield, W.Va., waived her right to be indicted yesterday and pled guilty to a two-count Information charging her with one count of structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“Ms. Elrod and her co-conspirators stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in an elaborate fraud scheme,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “This United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud and bring those who commit such fraud to justice.”
According to evidence presented in court by Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer, Elrod was a participant in a Nigerian wire fraud scheme in which money was sent to Elrod from victims. Elrod then structured the transactions and forwarded most of the proceeds to Nigeria, via wire transfer. Between March 2012 and July 2013, Elrod received $446,927 in wire transfers into bank accounts she controlled. Between July 2012 and July 2013, Elrod structured $411,411 in cash transactions in an effort to hide her activity from the government.
At sentencing, Elrod faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and a maximum possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison on the structuring charge. In addition, the defendant faces a possible additional10-year prison term, per count, for committing these crimes while on pretrial release.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, the United States Marshal Service, the Russell County Sheriff’s Office, the Bluefield Virginia Police Department, and the Bluefield West Virginia Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.