Owings Mills Couple Facing Federal Indictment for Charges Relating to a $20 Million Life Insurance Scheme | USAO-MD

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging James William Wilson, Jr., age 74, of Owings Mills, Maryland; and Maureen Ann Wilson, age 73, of Owings Mills, Maryland with federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and filing a false tax return.  James Wilson has also been charged with aggravated identity theft.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Acting Special Agent in Charge Darrell J. Waldon of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to the 21-count indictment, from at least 1996 until the present, the Wilsons conspired to fraudulently obtain more than 30 life insurance policies, worth more than $20 million in life insurance benefits, on behalf of applicants.  Specifically, the Indictment alleges that the life insurance applications contained material misrepresentations about the applicant, including the amount of the applicant’s existing life insurance coverage, the applicant’s health, and the applicant’s income.

The indictment further alleges that the Wilsons fraudulently obtained money from victim investors to pay the premiums on life insurance policies. Allegedly, the Wilsons obtained these funds by misleading victim investors to believe their money was being used as either a loan or an investment that would be repaid with interest, when, in fact, the money was being used to pay premiums on fraudulently-obtained life insurance policies. 

The indictment further alleges that the Wilsons forged signatures to make themselves and other nominees they controlled the owners and the beneficiaries of the life insurance policies.  The Indictment alleges that when certain insureds died, the Wilsons received more than $8 million in life insurance proceeds.

Further, the indictment alleges the Wilsons attempted to launder and conceal the fraudulently-obtained funds by controlling multiple bank accounts, opening bank accounts with nominee owners, and causing fraud proceeds to move through bank accounts owned by others.

The indictment further alleges that Wilsons filed false tax returns in 2018 and 2019 when they failed to report millions of dollars of fraudulently-obtained life insurance proceeds.

If convicted, James and Maureen Wilson face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering with intent to conceal; and three years in federal prison for each count of filing a false tax return. James Wilson faces a mandatory sentence of two years, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for each of two counts of aggravated identity theft. Maureen Wilson faces 10 years in federal prison for transactional money laundering. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Maryland Insurance Administration, and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Phelps and Stephanie Williamson, and Trial Attorney Shawn Noud of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, who are prosecuting the federal case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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