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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Senior Citizens

Tea Lynette Ware, 36, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids to two counts of mail fraud and one count of using a fictitious name in that fraud.

At the plea hearing, and in a plea agreement, Ware admitted that from about September 2015 through February 2016, Ware intentionally participated in a scheme to defraud an elderly Illinois woman in which false representations and promises were made to the elderly woman claiming she had won a lottery, sweepstakes, or otherwise was entitled to large sums of money.  The victim was also told the winnings or funds could be claimed only if she would first mail Ware money for purported taxes, fees, or similar alleged prerequisites for payment.  In truth, no such winnings existed and the telephone calls were designed only to permanently deprive the victim and her husband, a resident of a long-term care facility with dementia, of their money.  Like many senior citizens in the United States, the couple received unsolicited telephone calls; they even changed their telephone number to avoid unsolicited calls, but such calls nonetheless resumed after they changed their phone number.

In her plea agreement, Ware admitted that, in October 2015, she received $29,000 in two checks from the victim.  In the plea agreement, Ware has agreed to make full restitution to the victims.  She also agreed to forfeit any proceeds of her crime.  The government seized $40,000 prior to Ware’s Indictment.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Ware remains free on terms and conditions of release previously set pending sentencing.  Ware faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years’ imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, $300 in special assessments, and 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.­

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court file information at 

The case file number is 16-CR-27-LRR.

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Financial Fraud
Updated June 10, 2016