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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nebraska

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kansas City Man found Guilty of Defrauding Elderly Victims

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Thomas Whitlow, 53, formerly of Kansas City, Kansas, was convicted by a federal jury on November 18, 2014, of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud, after a three-day trial.

Whitlow was indicted, along with four co-defendants, on the conspiracy and wire fraud charges in February of 2014. He is scheduled for sentencing on February 13, 2015.  The maximum penalty that could be imposed is up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution to the victims, and a fine of up to $250,000.  Three of Mr. Whitlow’s co-defendants have already pled guilty and have been sentenced, with a fourth scheduled to be sentenced on November 20, 2014.

Evidence presented at trial indicated that between May of 2011 and November of 2013, Whitlow was a member of a group which devised a conspiracy scheme to defraud elderly victims and to obtain money.  As part of the scheme, Mr. Whitlow contacted the elderly victims, purporting to be a family relative, or a person acting on behalf of that relative.  He then solicited money from the elderly victims under a false pretense, such as a motor vehicle accident or some other type of fabricated emergency.  The victims were then instructed to obtain a money order and to have it sent to a specific person.  The victims purchased money orders under the misguided notion that they were helping a family member.  Over the course of this conspiracy, Whitlow and his co-defendants, obtained approximately $20,000.00 from their victims.

At trial, witnesses testified that Whitlow directed co-conspirators to send and receive proceeds of the scheme through wire transfers, including wire transfers conducted in the District of Nebraska.  Once the wire transfers were received by the co-conspirators, the money would then be provided to Whitlow or used to pay expenses of Whitlow.

The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, United States Department of Homeland Security and the Lincoln Police Department.

Updated February 4, 2015