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Press Release

Dubuque Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in Fraud that Targeted Elderly Victims Throughout the United States

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

A Dubuque man who participated in a scheme to defraud victims across the United States have pled guilty in federal court in Cedar Rapids.


Tobey Hines, age 33, from Dubuque, Iowa, pled guilty today and was convicted of one count of wire fraud.


At the plea hearing, Hines admitted he participated in a scheme to defraud people throughout the United States and that the fraud was primarily targeted towards the elderly.  Hines admitted that other individuals called victims on the phone and told these victims that a relative was in jail.  The caller would then ask the victims to wire money via Western Union or Money Gram to get the relative released.  Hines further admitted that the money was being wired to various participants in the fraud who would pick up the wire transfers.  Hines admitted that he was one of the participants in and around Dubuque who received wire transfers from the victims. 


Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Hines remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  He faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.


Four other people have previously pled guilty to their role in the scheme.  On March 2, 2017, Shawn Vaassen pled guilty and admitted that he too was picking up wire transfers sent to the Dubuque area by victims.  At the same plea hearing, Vaassen also pled guilty to unlawfully possessing a sawed off shotgun.  On May 9, 2017, Carlos Rodriguez pled guilty and admitted that he was also picking up wire transfers sent to the Dubuque area by victims.  Michael and Stephanie Marcov, a married couple, each pled guilty to wire fraud on May 19, 2017, and admitted to picking up wire transfers sent by victims.


The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Vavricek and Anthony Morfitt and were investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Investigations and the Dubuque Police Department. 


Court file information at

The case file numbers are 17-CR-1001, 17-CR-1004, and 17-CR-1038.


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Updated October 20, 2017

Elder Justice