Federal Court in Louisiana Sentences Former Inmate for Fraud Scheme While in Prison

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Published June 10, 2022

Federal Court in Louisiana Sentences Former Inmate for Fraud Scheme While in Prison

Louisiana – Andre Deaveon Reese, 32, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 33 months in prison on June 10, 2022, in a federal court in Louisiana by United States District Judge Donald E. Walter, followed by three years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown. Reese was also ordered to pay $9,797.95 in restitution to the victims in this case.

According to evidence presented in court, Reese participated in a scheme to defraud victims by telling them they had failed to appear for jury duty and a warrant had been issued for their arrest while serving time in the Autry State Prison (Autry) in Georgia in 2015 and continuing through July 2020. Inmates used contraband cellular phones from within Autry to access internet websites in order to identify the names, addresses, and phone numbers of potential fraud victims. Using cellular phones, inmates called victims whose names and phone numbers had been obtained and made false representations to the victims.

The inmates informed the victims that they were law enforcement officers and that the victim had failed to appear for jury duty on purpose. Furthermore, the victims were informed that because they had failed to appear for jury duty, warrants for their arrest had been issued, and the victim had the option of being arrested on the warrant or paying a fine to have the arrest warrant dismissed.

To make the calls appear genuine, Reese and other inmates created fictitious voicemail greetings on their contraband cellular phones, identifying themselves as members of legitimate law enforcement agencies such as the US Marshal Service. If a victim wanted to pay a fine, the inmates instructed them to buy pre-paid cash cards and provide the cash card’s account number, or the victim could wire money directly into a pre-paid debit card account held by the inmates or one of the co-conspirators. On the basis of these false representations, the victims electronically transferred money to the inmates, believing that the funds would be used to pay the fine.

After a victim provided an inmate with the account number of the pre-paid cash card, the inmates used their contraband cellular phones to contact co-conspirators who were not incarcerated and requested that the money be transferred from the cash card purchased by the victims to a pre-paid debit card owned by the co-conspirators. The co-conspirators would then withdraw the victim’s money from an ATM or from a retail store.

In August of 2016, two people in the Western District of Louisiana, ages 75 and 78, fell victim to Reese’s scheme. The victims trusted the callers, who were inmates impersonating legitimate law enforcement officers, and paid them to have the alleged warrants for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty dismissed. Reese and his co-conspirators received $9,797.95 from the two victims.

The FBI and US Marshals Service investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Mary J. Mudrick.