Elder fraud to cost man $400K in restitution

Eastern District of Texas
An Eastern District of Texas Courthouse sits in downtown Sherman.

A man who recently moved to Sulphur Springs has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

Jeremy Christopher Jones, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.  Jones has additionally agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $438,433.00, representing the proceeds he and his recruits received and deposited.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei

“Multiple federal agencies worked together to dissect a complicated, international financial scheme that was bilking thousands of Americans from all over the country out of hard-earned funds,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “Together, those agencies have ensured that individuals seeking to profit from fraudulent activities have been called to account.  Today’s plea has added significance, given that it comes on the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.”

  According to information presented in court, in 2014, Jones, who then lived in Florida, became involved with a money laundering operation.  He picked up funds wired to various money services businesses, such as MoneyGram and Western Union.  Jones created fictitious companies and opened bank accounts in the names of these businesses, and then deposited the money into the accounts for the fake companies.  The wired funds were actually fraud proceeds obtained from victims of various schemes, including loan modification scams, IRS impersonation scams, and credit card scams. 

Jones relocated to Sulphur Springs, Texas in 2015, but continued his money laundering activities.  He made pickups of wired victim funds, and also recruited others, supervised their activity.  Jones was paid a percentage of the cash and money orders that he and his recruits picked up.  He returned to Florida in 2018 and resumed his money laundering operations there. 

Jones was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 29, 2020.  He faces up to 20 years in federal prison.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing 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 U.S. Probation Office. 

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).  This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.  Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis.  Reporting is the first step.  Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses.  The hotline is staffed 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.   

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General; the United States Secret Service; and Treasury Inspector General-Tax Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alan Jackson and Frank Coan.