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Press Release

Money Launderer Sentenced to Prison for Role in Online Scams

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. – Whitney Adams, 27, of Hagerstown, Maryland, was sentenced last week by United States District Judge John C. Hinderaker to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution to 17 victims. Adams pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering on May 16, 2023.

Between January 2021 and April 2022, Adams laundered money for scammers who lured victims into various online frauds. In some instances, the victims believed they were sending money to support an online romantic partner who falsely stated they needed to pay taxes and fees to release an inheritance or gold bars. The stories told to the victims by the scammers were fraudulent. The scammers directed the victims’ monies into accounts controlled by Adams and her co-conspirator. When Adams and her co-conspirator received the fraudulent monies, they kept a fee for themselves, and then transferred the funds, via trade-based money laundering or other means, to Ghana. Adams and her co-conspirator set up phony businesses and then opened business bank accounts to hide the transfer of the fraudulently obtained funds. The FBI traced $4,437,604, sent by 106 victims, through Adams’ and her co-conspirator’s bank accounts. One Arizona victim lost nearly $5 million to the scams, sending over $1 million to Adams’ and her co-conspirator’s accounts and the remaining money to multiple other individuals. Adams’ co-conspirator pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2024.

This case was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Elder Justice Initiative. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This DOJ hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step and can help authorities identify fraudsters and recoup losses. The hotline is staffed 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Sue Feldmeier, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-22-00893-JCH-2
RELEASE NUMBER:    2024-002_Adams

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Public Affairs
Zach J. Stoebe
Telephone: (602) 514-7413


Updated January 9, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 2024-002_Adams