Louisiana Man Sentenced and Ordered to Pay Restitution for Defrauding Elderly Veteran

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Published June 13, 2022

Louisiana Man Sentenced and Ordered to Pay Restitution for Defrauding Elderly Veteran

United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced on June 13, 2022, that U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced Shawn Phillips, 44, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 33 months in federal prison for wire fraud, to run consecutively with his pending state charges. The Court also sentenced Phillips to three years of supervised release following his prison term and ordered him to pay $50,718 in restitution.

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, Phillips befriended the victim and then used that friendship to steal over $50,718 from January 2020 to May 2021. Phillips persuaded the victim to lend him the money by claiming he needed it until his large inheritance arrived. Yet, unbeknownst to the victim, Phillips was never expecting any inheritance.

Phillips’ scheme continued even after he left Baton Rouge and moved to Georgia, convincing the victim to send 43 wire transfers from Baton Rouge to Georgia to fund his lifestyle there. Throughout the scheme, Phillips maintained his false claim that he was awaiting an inheritance, even claiming that he needed additional money from the victim to get the ‘inheritance’ out of the court system.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill, who also serves as the Middle District of Louisiana’s Elder Justice Coordinator.

The Elder Justice Initiative of the Department of Justice aims to combat elder financial exploitation by increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial scams that target seniors; educating older adults on how to identify scams and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud; and promoting greater coordination with law enforcement partners. Please visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice for more information. If you or someone you know is 60 or older and a victim of financial fraud, call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).