NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, woman was charged with defrauding elderly victims through a lottery scam in which victims were falsely told that they had won large sums of money, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Shanile Lyle, 27, of Orange, New Jersey, was arrested today and charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer and was released on $200,000 unsecured bond.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
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 her conspirators.
The count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum of penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss involved, whichever is greater.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Cybercrimes Unit in Newark.
Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and is one of the Department of Justice’s key priorities. In 2018, the Department ordered each of the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices to appoint an Elder Justice Coordinator tasked with fulfilling the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) of 2017’s mandate of: serving as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to elder abuse; prosecuting, or assisting in the prosecution of, elder abuse cases; conducting public outreach and awareness activities relating to elder abuse; and ensuring the collection of data required to be collected under the EAPPA.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.