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Press Release

KC Woman Pleads Guilty to $240,000 Email Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to laundering more than $240,000 she unlawfully obtained from a New York business as part of an email compromise scheme.

Brianna S. Graves, 30, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to a federal information that charges her with one count of money laundering.

By pleading guilty today, Graves admitted that she received a payment of $240,926 from ETS Contracting, Inc., located in Brooklyn, New York, as part of a business email compromise scheme.

According to today’s plea agreement, ETS Contracting was finalizing a contract with a vendor, who was communicating via email with the firm. On Dec. 12, 2022, ETS Contracting received a payment instruction email, which they believed originated from the owner of the vendor company, to wire $240,926 to a J.P. Morgan Chase Bank account. However, the instruction email actually came from a different email address that changed one letter in the domain name.

ETS Contracting authorized the payment on Dec. 18, 2022, and the funds were posted to the bank account the next day. The bank account, a business account in the name of Heavy Weight Maintenance LLC, actually belonged to Graves. Graves obtained a cashier’s check for the full amount of the wire fraud proceeds, which she then deposited into another bank account. Graves spent the money on car payments, vacations, cruises, airfare, and gambling.

On June 26, 2023, federal agents executed a warrant and seized $41,574 from Graves’s bank account.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Graves must pay $240,926 in restitution and must forfeit to the government $240,926, which represents the proceeds she obtained from her crime.

Under federal statutes, Graves is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the FBI and the New York City Police Department.

Updated May 23, 2024

Financial Fraud