Skip to main content
Press Release

Woman Guilty of Using Threats and Intimidation to Bilk Elderly Victim Out of More Than $1.6 Million

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

CHICAGO — A woman has admitted in federal court that she used a series of threats and intimidation to bilk an elderly victim out of more than $1.6 million.

LEE TURNER, also known as “Ashley Turner,” 40, of Joliet, Ill., pleaded guilty on May 16, 2023, to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to promote and carry on unlawful activity, namely theft and intimidation.  The conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah set sentencing for Sept. 8, 2023.

Turner admitted in a plea agreement that from 2018 to 2021 she communicated numerous threats and fraudulent statements to the victim, who was in his seventies and had limited vision.  Turner’s communications threatened to expose the victim’s purported criminal activity, even though Turner had no knowledge of any such activity committed by the victim.  Turner took on false personas to convey false statements purportedly from others, including alleged gang members, individuals involved in organized crime, prosecutors, journalists, and corrupt law enforcement officers.

In one example cited in the plea agreement, Turner, using the alias “Big Joe,” sent a series of messages to the victim, claiming that the victim had to pay $30,000 to prevent law enforcement from raiding the victim’s residence and a relative’s residence.  On June 13, 2019, the victim paid Turner $30,000 to avoid the purported raids, the plea agreement states.  The money was one of dozens of similar payments, ranging in value from $5,000 to $66,000, that the victim made to Turner.  In all, Turner received $1,611,975 from the victim as a result of the scam, the plea agreement states.

The guilty plea was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, and Eric Rossi, Chief of the Orland Park Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David B. Green.

Updated May 22, 2023

Elder Justice
Violent Crime