Montana Woman Steals Nearly $120,000 From Elderly Man
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana recently announced a successful prosecution of a Montana woman who admitted to defrauding an elderly man out of nearly $120,000 while managing his finances following his wife’s death.
KGVO News spoke to Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation in the Denver Field Office, which includes the state of Montana.
Montana Woman Convicted of Defrauding Elderly Man out of $120,000
“This investigation started not that long ago and actually involved just about a year of fraud where we had 53-year-old Gina Mann defraud financially someone that she was supposed to take care of,” began Tsui. “In this case, we see financial fraud and debts of the victim of almost $120,000 over a short period of time.”
Tsui said his office was able to gather the facts and evidence that led to the defendant’s conviction.
The Defendant Received a Sentence of Nearly Four Years in Prison
“Luckily we're able to investigate and prosecute her,” he said. “She received a 40-month prison sentence with three years of supervised release. That's a significant sentence and it definitely sends a strong message to anyone thinking about defrauding someone or stealing from someone that they're entrusted to help.”
Tsui said all Montanans should exercise due diligence while investigating a person of may be entrusted in handling a family member’s finances.
“These types of stories and make it hard to trust people,” he said. “I would say that it is not an issue of trust. If you ask a lot of questions and want to see details, for example, bank statements, status, and your funds. That should never be considered a trust issue. There should be reasonable questions for anyone to ask either the person himself or herself or someone like a relative to maybe ask those questions. I think the problem these days is if we don't ask enough questions and the doors sometimes open to someone's greed and then they take advantage of that.”
Tsui said Shame can Keep Victims from Reporting Financial Fraud
Tsui said often in the case of older persons that the shame of being taken advantage of can keep them from reporting being defrauded.
“I know there are situations where there are online scams where you and the person don’t know each other, and they're being victimized and may not report that,” he said. “That situation may prevent law enforcement from getting those tips to help unravel those kinds of schemes. So certainly it should be reported. We understand it's an underreported crime, and we certainly want to see it prevented. So thank you for helping get the message out.”
According to Tsui’s investigation, Mann’s scheme began in early 2018 and continued until late 2019 when Doe discovered the fraud after receiving overdraft notices from the credit union. Mann misappropriated approximately $119,269 in Doe’s name.
Mann has been sentenced to over three years in prison and must reimburse the victim nearly $120,000.