Canton woman indicted for stealing $100,000 from Tennessee man through bogus sweepstakes scheme
A Canton woman was indicted on charges that she defrauded a Tennessee man out of more than $100,000 after falsely telling him he won a $3 million sweepstakes but had to pay taxes and fees up front, U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon said.
Lashell Patton, 42, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Patton and others falsely told a Tennessee man that he won $3 million in a sweepstakes. They convinced the victim that he needed to pay taxes and fees associated with the sweepstakes up front, and instructed the victim to wire money to Patton in Canton, according to the indictment.
The victim sent 15 Western Union money wires to Patton totaling $11,615 and 111 MoneyGram money wires to Patton totaling $90,090. This took place between July 2015 and April 2016, according to the indictment.
“This defendant preyed upon a vulnerable victim and took advantage of his trust,” Rendon said. “She now will be held accountable for her actions.”
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases they will be less than the maximum.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry F. DeBaggis following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.