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Press Release

Tennessee Woman Sentenced to over 2 Years in Prison for Submitting False Claims for Unclaimed Property

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Marilyn Cook (also known as Marilyn Powell and Marilyn Sunset), 58, of Alcoa, Tennessee, was sentenced today to two years and five months in prison for filing false claims for unclaimed property held by the California State Controller’s Office Unclaimed Property Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, in August and September 2014, Cook, using the alias Marilyn Sunset, committed a scheme to defraud by filing false claims with the Division of Unclaimed Property for properties belonging to the United States Marshals and others. For each claim, Cook certified under penalty of perjury that she was entitled to claim the identified properties. Cook used a State of Tennessee Identification Card that she obtained in the name Marilyn Sunset to have certain claim forms notarized as required by the Unclaimed Property Division. Cook also submitted fictitious documents in support of her claim, including a letter on Department of Justice letterhead that falsely purported to have been signed by a former Assistant Attorney General, authorizing Sunset to collect properties on behalf of the U.S. Marshals. In all, Cook falsely claimed 128 properties totaling $398,537. The Unclaimed Property Division identified the claims as fraudulent and did not disperse any property to Cook.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Shelley D. Weger prosecuted the case.

Updated August 26, 2021