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Press Release

Las Vegas woman guilty of fraud and money laundering charges

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

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Shelly Anne Leipham, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was found guilty by a federal jury today of fraud charges, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.

After a three-day trial, Leipham, 66, was found guilty of three counts of “Wire Fraud,” five counts of “Mail Fraud,” and three counts of “Money Laundering.” Leipham called an elderly victim living in Harrison County and claimed the victim won one million dollars. Leipham defrauded the victim of nearly $25,000 by directing the victim to send that amount to her over the course of a two-year period by mail and wire.  

“Sweepstakes schemes like this continue to be a problem and the victims are often senior citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “We will seek a long prison sentence for Ms. Leipham and anyone else like her who preys upon older West Virginians.”

The government is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $336,402. 

Leipham is facing up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the wire fraud and mail fraud counts. She’s facing up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $500,000 for each of the money laundering counts. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah E. Wagner and Andrew R. Cogar are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Internal Revenue Service, the West Virginia State Police, and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office investigated.

This case is being prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice Elder Fraud Initiative. Since the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) was signed into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. 

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Kleeh presided.

Updated April 29, 2022

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud