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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Twentieth Defendant Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Money Laundering Charges Related to Telemarketing Enterprise

St. Louis, MO – Timothy Murphy, a/k/a Mr. Black, a/k/a Colby Muhlberg, a/k/a Arthur Whitton, 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on Thursday, February 22, 2018, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing has been set for May 22, 2018.  All twenty defendants have now pled guilty in federal court in connection with a multi-count indictment arising from their participation in a fraudulent telemarketing enterprise that often targeted elderly victims. 

On November 20, 2017, Michael McNeill, a/k/a Mr. White, a/k/a Todd Lockwood, 48, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering before United States Judge John Ross.  Also on November 20, 2017, Joshua Flynn, a/k/a Mr. Pink, a/k/a Jeff Thomas, 36, of Chandler, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Sentencings for both are set for March 6, 2018.

As organized and led by Defendant McNeill and Defendant Flynn, and others, the telemarketing enterprise sold false and fictitious business opportunities as part of a scheme that reached across the United States and Canada and generated in excess of $20,000,000 in fraudulent sales.  The Phoenix, Arizona, based telemarketing enterprise operated under multiple business names and utilized multiple business entities over the course of the scheme, including Smart Business Pros LLC of Warson Woods, Missouri.  The sophisticated money laundering activity of the telemarketing enterprise and the conspiracy included transfers involving criminal proceeds used for the purchase of gold and silver coins, ultimately distributed to McNeill and Flynn as the owners of the enterprise.

In October 2016, nine individuals were initially indicted.  In February 2017, an additional ten individuals were indicted.  In July 2017, an additional individual was indicted.  All twenty defendants have now pled guilty to one or more offenses arising from the telemarketing enterprise and the scheme to defraud. Multiple defendants have also pled guilty to money laundering offenses.

Ashley Powell, a/k/a Brittany Wilson, 26, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing on January 22, 2018, before United States Judge Audrey Fleissig.  Sentencing is set for May 4, 2018.

Dean Miller, a/k/a Jeffrey Wilkes, 44, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and Michael Silver, a/k/a Michael Wright, 33, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on January 12, 2018, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencings are set for April 17, 2018.

Scott Shocklee, a/k/a Fredo, 40, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on January 4, 2018, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for April 10, 2018.

Jason Gallagher, 36, of Gilbert, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on December 12, 2017, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for April 19, 2018.

Donald Schnock, 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of money laundering on November 17, 2017, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for March 1, 2018.

Russell Hibbert, 44, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on November 17, 2017, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for March 8, 2018.

Andre Devoe, 43, of Tempe, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Thomas Silhaa/k/a Keith Henderson, a/k/a Dave Marsh, 56, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing on November 4, 2017, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencing for Andre Devoe has been set for March 14, 2018. Sentencing for Thomas Silha has been set for March 8, 2018.

Shawn Casey, a/k/a Shawn Anderson, a/k/a Daniel Arenson, 41, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing; and Bruce Doll, 52, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing on August 29, 2017, before United States Judge John Ross.  Sentencings have been set for March 7, 2018.

Cybill Osterman, 26, of Scottsdale, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on August 28, 2017, before United States District Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for March 7, 2018.

Brian Phillips, 28, of Tempe, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on August 25, 2017, before United States District Judge John Ross.  Sentencing is set for March 7, 2018.

Jennifer Hansen, a/k/a Hailee Randall, 35, of  El Mirage, Arizona, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and John Balleweg, a/k/a Trent Lombardi, 37, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on August 18, 2017, before United States District Judge John Ross.  Sentencings have been set for March 8, 2018.

Philip Hale, 37, of Brentwood, Missouri, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and Anthony Swiantek, 40, of Salina, Kansas, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud on August 15, 2017, before United States District Judge John Ross.  Sentencings have been set for March 14, 2018.

As to Mr. Murphy’s offenses, wire fraud in connection with telemarketing carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine or both.   Conspiracy to commit money laundering, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine or both.  In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Arizona Attorney General.  Assistant United States Attorneys Charles Birmingham and Gwendolyn Carroll are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Updated February 23, 2018