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Press Release

Six Individuals Charged in Fraud Scheme Targeting Elderly Victims Throughout the United States

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

Tobey Hines, Tiffany Reynolds, Joshua Willis, Payton McCarville, Morgan Cornell, and Paul Chase, all from Dubuque or surrounding areas, have been charged with wire fraud. The charges are contained in an Indictment filed August 24, 2017, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.


The Indictment alleges that from December 2015 through September 2016, the individuals participated in a scheme to defraud people throughout the United States and that the fraud was primarily targeted toward the elderly. The charges allege that participants in the fraud would call a person on the phone and falsely tell that person that a relative was in jail. The caller would then ask the victim to wire money via Western Union or Money Gram as bail money to get the relative released. The charges allege that participants in the fraud picked up the wire transfers and, eventually, some of the participants would send the money overseas.


Hines, Reynolds, Cornell, and Chase were arrested and appeared in federal court today. Willis and McCarville have not yet appeared in court. In addition, fourteen other individuals who are alleged to have participated were charged in the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County and arrested today.


Hines is being held without bond pending a detention hearing on August 31, 2017. Reynolds, Cornell, and Chase were released pending trial.


As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Four other people have previously pled guilty to their role in a scheme to similarly defraud elderly victims. On March 2, 2017, Shawn Vaassen pled guilty and admitted that he 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. Finally, on May 19, 2017, Michael Marcov and Stephanie Marcov pled guilty and admitted they had participated in a scheme to defraud.


The prosecution is part of the Elder Justice Initiative of the Department of Justice. In June 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa was selected as one of 10 districts in the nation to form an Elder Justice Task Force ( The task force was assembled to foster a collaborative working relationship among all levels of government officials, advocacy groups for the elderly and the disabled, and others charged with the care and protection for these vulnerable groups. The goals include ensuring the integrity of all government expenditures by eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in health programs, and protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens from harm, whether it occurs in nursing homes or other institutions or involves financial fraud schemes. To learn more about the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, visit:


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Dubuque Police Department.


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


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Updated August 30, 2017

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud