You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 2, 2018

Six People Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud that Targeted Elderly Victims

Fraud Scammed More Than 250 Victims Out of More Than $750,000

Six people from the Dubuque, Iowa, area were sentenced on March 1, 2018, to federal prison for participating in a fraud that victimized more than 250 elderly victims across the United States.

Evidence at the sentencing hearings and prior court hearings showed that Tobey Hines, Tiffany Reynolds, Joshua Willis, Payton McCarville, Morgan Cornell, and Paul Chase were all involved in a scheme to defraud victims, who were generally elderly, around the country.  All six previously admitted that while they never made calls to victims, other individuals involved in the scheme 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.  They further admitted that the money was being wired to various participants in the fraud who would pick up the wire transfers.  Each admitted that they were participants in and around Dubuque who received wire transfers from the victims.  Hines and Reynolds also admitted they sent the proceeds of the fraud via wire transfer to other participants of the scheme located in the Dominican Republic.  The scheme victimized more than 250 victims across the country.  These victims lost more than $750,000 as a result of the fraud.

“The perpetrators of this scheme shamelessly preyed upon vulnerable individuals in our society by exploiting their generosity,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who seek to victimize and financially exploit the elderly.”    

Tobey Hines, age 33, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison after a October 19, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At his sentencing hearing, the judge found Hines had victimized at least 17 individuals and was responsible for nearly a $120,000 in loss.  Between January 2016 and April 2016, Hines sent $119,985 via wire transfer to the Dominican Republic as part of the scheme.  Hines was also ordered to pay $47,059.94 in restitution to the victims.

Tiffany Reynolds, age 33, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison after a November 15, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At her sentencing hearing, the judge found that Reynolds was responsible for the losses of 15 victims, totaling nearly $40,000 in losses.  In sentencing her, the judge also noted Reynolds’s extensive criminal history, including prior convictions for OWI and assault.  The judge also ordered her to pay $37,587 in restitution to the victims.

Joshua Willis, age 21, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison after a November 15, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At his sentencing hearing, the judge found that Willis was responsible for the losses of 26 victims, totaling more than $60,000 in losses.  In sentencing Willis, the judge also noted his extensive criminal history, including multiple prior convictions for assault.  The judge also ordered him to pay $64,302.80 in restitution to the victims.

Payton McCarville, age 23, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison after a November 17, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At her sentencing hearing, the judge found that McCarville was responsible for the losses of 13 victims, totaling nearly $40,000 in losses.  The judge also ordered her to pay $39,369.31 in restitution to the victims.

Morgan Cornell, age 21, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison after a November 16, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At her sentencing hearing, the judge found that Cornell was responsible for the losses of 15 victims, totaling over $30,000 in losses.  The judge also ordered her to pay $33,129.60 in restitution to the victims.

Paul Chase, age 34, from Dubuque, Iowa, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after a November 20, 2017, guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.  At his sentencing hearing, the judge found that Chase was responsible for the losses of 14 victims, totaling more than $40,000 in losses.  In sentencing Chase, the judge also noted his extensive criminal history, including multiple prior convictions for OWI.  The judge also ordered him to pay $42,152.46 in restitution to the victims.

The prosecutions are 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 (http://go.usa.gov/cSngj). 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: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.

All four individuals were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.  Each must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after being released from prison.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Hines, Reynolds, Willis, McCarville, and Cornell are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until each can be transported to a federal prison.  Chase was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

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

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 17-CR-1038.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 2, 2018