News and Press Releases

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Sharon L. Potter

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist



September 22, 2009

Two Grafton Residents Entered Guilty Pleas
in Extortion and Wire Fraud Case

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA — Two Grafton, West Virginia, residents entered guilty pleas on September 18 and September 21, 2009, in United States District Court in Clarksburg before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that:

ERIC WAYNE ZUSPAN, age 53, entered a guilty plea to one count of an Indictment charging him with conspiring with Teri Elaine Trickett to commit extortion and wire fraud beginning on March 23, 2009, and continuing through May 7, 2009, in Fairmont. It was part of the conspiracy for ZUSPAN and Trickett, a married couple, to extort money from a woman in their care (hereinafter referred to as the “victim”) by convincing the victim that Trickett, the victim’s primary care giver, had been kidnaped and that the purported kidnappers were demanding $20,000 in ransom money; and further that ZUSPAN and Trickett attempted to convince the victim that the kidnappers were connected to the alleged murder of the victims’ father. ZUSPAN, who was previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, also entered a plea of guilty to knowingly possessing a firearm and ammunition on June 19, 2009, which had been shipped in interstate commerce. ZUSPAN faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on the conspiracy count; and a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on the firearms count.

TERI ELAINE TRICKETT, also known as TERI ELAINE ZUSPAN, age 52, entered a plea of guilty to one count of an Indictment charging her with devising a scheme to defraud the victim and to obtain money by false and fraudulent pretenses from January 23, 2009, to June 19, 2009, by developing a trust relationship with the victim by providing in-home care services to the victim. TRICKETT faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

ZUSPAN and TRICKETT are both free on bond pending sentencing.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Cogar. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.