Two More St. Robert Residents Plead Guilty to $3 Million Fraud Scheme
Thousands of Victims Nationwide
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two more St. Robert, Mo., residents pleaded guilty in federal court today to their roles in a Nigerian fraud scheme in which thousands of victims across the country were tricked into cashing up to $3 million in counterfeit money orders and cashier’s checks.
Terry L. Shupe, 38, and Nancy Madelen Peebles, 74, both of St. Robert, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to their roles in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The conspiracy involved counterfeit postal money orders, counterfeit cashier’s checks and numerous wires to unindicted co-conspirators in the country of Nigeria.
Co-defendants Lisa Kaye Barwick-Majeski, 54, who is Peebles’s daughter, and Cheryl Barber, 41, who lived with Shupe, both of St. Robert, have also pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy.
Conspirators dispatched counterfeit postal money orders and bogus cashier’s checks to thousands of victims throughout the United States. These false money orders and cashier’s checks were deposited in victims’ bank accounts after the victims were duped into believing they were paid participants as part of a “secret shopper” exercise designed for them to evaluate Wal-Mart and various money wire outlets. The victims were instructed to keep approximately $200 or more of the less than $2,000 counterfeited postal money orders or bogus cashier’s checks, and immediately wire the remaining money to the conspirators. After a few days, the counterfeited money orders or bogus cashier’s checks would be returned against the victims’ accounts as not negotiable. The victims would then be obligated to pay their banks or their financial institutions.
Conspirators shared most of their proceeds with a group of Nigerians who were responsible for supplying Barwick-Majeski with fraudulent postal money orders and cashier’s checks.
By pleading guilty today, Shupe admitted that his criminal conduct within the wire fraud conspiracy amounted to approximately $6,491 of illegal wires sent or received by Shupe. Peebles admitted that her criminal conduct within the wire fraud conspiracy amounted to approximately $38,360 of illegal wires sent or received by Peebles. Under the terms of their plea agreements, both Shupe and Peebles must pay restitution to their victims.
Under federal statutes, Shupe and Peebles are each subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the St. Robert, Mo., Police Department.