City Man Convicted of Drug, Gun Offenses for Role in Large-Scale Drug Trafficking Organization Operating in Port Richmond Section of Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA –United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Gloria Byars, 62, of Aldan, PA and Carlton Rembert, 69, of Hampton, VA were both found guilty for their roles in a scheme to defraud elderly, incapacitated people of over $1 million. Byars entered a guilty plea on the eve of trial, pleading guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud. Her co-conspirator and brother Carlton Rembert proceeded to trial and after a four-day trial, a jury found Rembert guilty of conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud.
Between 2012 and 2018, Byars and her co-conspirators stole the life savings from dozens of incapacitated wards while Byars served as their court-appointed guardian. Prior to operating her own guardianship company, Byars was an office manager for a guardianship company in Delaware County that was appointed to care for wards in Pennsylvania. As office manager, and then as guardian herself through her own company, Byars had unfettered access to wards’ property including bank accounts, pensions, real estate, retirement accounts, and other assets. Byars stole money from the wards’ bank accounts by writing unauthorized checks to companies she controlled, or to shell companies controlled by her co-conspirators, Rembert and Alesha Mitchell. Rembert and Mitchell assisted Byars in the theft by opening bank accounts in their home state of Virginia in the names of shell companies purporting to be medical services companies. Rembert and Mitchell deposited dozens of checks containing stolen ward money into their shell business bank accounts, withdrew over $500,000 in cash, and sent most of the stolen proceeds back to Byars, after keeping a share of the stolen ward money for themselves. Byars spent the stolen ward money on vacations, clothing, vehicles, gifts, and parties.
As part of Byars’ plea agreement, she agreed to forfeit 36 gold Krugerrand coins, valuable gold coins first minted in South Africa in the 1960s to introduce the country’s gold supply onto the world market. Byars stole several Krugerrand coins from the bank safe deposit box of one of her wards. Byars also stole over $756,000 from a retired federal employee’s Thrift Savings Plan. In total, Byars and her co-conspirators stole well over $1 million from at least 120 incapacitated people in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Byars and Rembert face the following maximum possible sentences. For conspiracy to commit bank fraud and for bank fraud, the maximum sentence is 30 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. For wire fraud, the maximum sentence is 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Byars also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $500,000 fine for money laundering and for filing a false tax return, the maximum sentence is 3 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
“Byars and Rembert’s actions caused significant financial and emotional harm to their victims,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Fraud, particularly at the expense of vulnerable people, will not be tolerated.”
“Gloria Byars was entrusted with managing the assets of elderly folks unable to do so themselves,” said Richard Langham, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Instead, she abused her role as a guardian, poaching the nest eggs of these vulnerable wards, figuring they’d never even know. The FBI takes great satisfaction in bringing Byars and her co-conspirators to justice and preventing them from doing more harm. Elder fraud and abuse are simply unconscionable. If you think you’re being victimized like this or know someone who is, please reach out to the FBI – anonymously, if you like.”
“IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to aggressively investigating individuals who engage in money laundering, tax fraud, or other types of white-collar crimes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “We, along with our law enforcement partners and the Department of Justice will continue to work to ensure that individuals who attempt to hide their criminal involvement will be held accountable.”
“The conviction of Gloria Byars and Carlton Rembert demonstrates the shared commitment of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and United States Attorney’s Office in pursuing justice for our most vulnerable residents. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation for working with us on this important guardianship fraud prosecution. I would also like to thank Douglas Rhoads, Deputy District Attorney of Special Investigations, and Detective Edward Rosen of our Criminal Investigation Division for their work on this matter,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tiwana Wright and Samuel Dalke.