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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Monday, March 10, 2014

Erie Man Pleads Guilty In $700K Fraud Scheme

ERIE, Pa - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Peter Jerard Turk, 61, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Turk convinced an acquaintance to send him over $700,000 by falsely claiming that the money would be used to pay the Nigerian government certain fees related to a five million dollar Nigerian government contract that Turk had been awarded. The contract never existed. Turk then kept over $100,000 for himself, unbeknownst to the victim, and forwarded the balance of the victim’s money to bank accounts and individuals across the world.

Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing for August 4, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of twenty years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Turk on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Turk.

Updated July 14, 2015