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Justice News

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Georgia Woman Sentenced For Role In Nigerian "Mystery Shopper" Scam

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Lilburn, Georgia, has been sentenced in federal court to three years probation, the first eight months of which shall be served in home detention; restitution in the total amount of $47,815.15 and special assessment of $100 on her conviction of fraud conspiracy, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Monica Mason, 49.

According to the information presented to the court, Mason was involved in a Nigerian "Mystery Shopper" scam whereby her coconspirator Shawn Foote knowingly prepared and addressed fraudulent mail containing counterfeit instruments to victims, who believed they were acting as mystery shoppers. The victims unwittingly received the counterfeit commercial and Postal money orders and checks and cashed them to make small purchases for purposes of evaluating the commercial services provided. They then wire transferred excess funds back to Mason, Foote, and others. After these transactions, the money orders and checks were returned as counterfeit by the victims’ banks and they were left to repay the bank from their own funds.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul E. Hull prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the United States Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations for the successful prosecution of Mason.

Updated July 14, 2015