Kansas City Man Sentenced for Scheme to Defraud Elderly Victims
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Thomas Whitlow, 53, formerly of Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced on February 27, 2015, in Lincoln, Nebraska, by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard to 9 years in prison following his conviction for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud. In addition to the prison term, Whitlow was ordered to pay restitution of $17,521, to the victims of the scheme to defraud, serve a 3 year term of supervised release following the prison term and pay special assessments of $500.
Whitlow was convicted by a federal jury on November 18, 2014, of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud, after a three-day trial. 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 would contact the elderly victims, purporting to be a family relative, or a person acting on behalf of that relative. He would then solicit 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 then purchased money orders under the belief that they were helping that family member. 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.
Over the course of this conspiracy, Whitlow and his co-defendants obtained approximately $20,000.00 from their victims. The other defendants have previously plead guilty and been sentenced by the Court.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, United States Department of Homeland Security and the Lincoln Police Department.