[KNOXVILLE, TN] - Following a two-day trial in United States District Court, Knoxville, Tennessee, a jury returned a verdict of guilty, convicting Marilyn Yvette Cook (also known as Marilyn Yvette Powell), of Alcoa, of presenting a fictitious obligation to a financial institution and presenting a false claim to the United States.
Sentencing is set for December 3, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., in United States District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee. Cook faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and other possible penalties.
At trial, the jury heard testimony that, in October of 2017, Cook attempted to deposit a false “bill of exchange,” with a face value of $1 million, to the Regions Bank branch in Alcoa. In support of the “bill of exchange,” which had the appearance of a bank check, Cook presented fictitious documents purporting to show that she possessed Treasury bonds worth more than $100 billion. The jury also heard testimony that, in January of 2017, Cook filed a fraudulent federal tax return through which she sought a tax refund of more than $251,000. In addition, the jury heard testimony that Cook had been convicted in 2006 for multiple counts of defrauding the United States through false tax returns on which she fraudulently used the personal information of indigent individuals who purportedly received assistance from Cook’s faith-based organization, Sheep Ministries, Inc.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee applauds the jury’s verdict in this case against an individual seeking to defraud a bank by depositing non-existent funds into a bank account, and enriching herself at taxpayers’ expense by filing a false income tax return,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey. “Our office will continue to prosecute those who attempt to pass off such fraudulent documents in order to enrich themselves at the expense of others.”
Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation which led to the indictment and subsequent conviction of Marilyn Cook included the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the Alcoa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Dale, Jr. and Jennifer Kolman represented the United States at trial.