A New Jersey woman admitted transmitting the proceeds of a fraud scam in which elderly victims were falsely told that they had won large sums of money in a lottery sweepstakes.
Shanile Lyle, 28, of Orange, New Jersey pleaded guilty by videoconference on Thursday, February 17, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Julian X. Neals to an information charging her with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Lyle stole at least $675,000 from three senior citizens in a lottery scam that tricked the victims into sending money for “prepaid taxes” in order to collect their non-existent prizes.
According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Lyle received checks from victims of a lottery scheme in which the victims were told that they had won large sums of money in a lottery sweepstakes and had to pre-pay taxes on their winnings.
In 2018, several elderly victims received telephone calls alerting them that they had won large sums of money and various other prizes.
The victims were informed that they would have to pay taxes on these winnings and, as a result, sent numerous checks totaling at least $675,000 to Lyle and her conspirators.
Lyle deposited these funds into back accounts she controlled and transferred portions of the money to other individuals, including criminal conspirators who were operating from overseas.
The charge of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Lyle called one 94-year-old Hawaii woman in June 2018 and convinced the woman she won $6 million through the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, according to court papers.
That woman sent Lyle at least 22 checks totaling more than $500,000, which was shared with her unnamed co-conspirators.
A 75-year-old Kentucky woman was talked into purchasing cell phones and gift cards, as well as sending $30,000 in checks to Lyle after she conned the woman into thinking she won $2 million and a car.
An 86-year-old Indiana woman turned over about $20,000, after Lyle had called the woman and informed her that she won “a large sum of money and an an automobile.”
Lyle’s sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2022.