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Tennessee Man Guilty Of East Texas Elder Fraud Violations

TYLER, Texas – A Wartrace, TN, man has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.

John Arthur Fuss, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.

According to information presented in court, Fuss had a scheme developed and managed by a co-defendant. It involved call center solicitations of various kinds, including home mortgage modifications, personal loans, payback of Social Security benefits, and IRS demands for payment. They instructed victims to make payments through various money services businesses or mail their costs to specified addresses. They recruited Fuss to pick up payments from money services businesses or receive them in the mail and then deposit them into accounts as one of the co-defendants instructed. He also created at least one company so that the co-defendant could set up a bank account to use in the scheme. The overall strategy involved approximately $3.2 million in victims’ payments and almost 2,000 victims. Fuss admitted to being responsible for the deposit of approximately $1,173,233 in victim proceeds.

Fuss faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the court will determine the sentencing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be after completing a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the victim’s needs and identifying appropriate next steps. Case managers will identify relevant reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with good agencies, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses.

The hotline is staffed 10:00 am-6:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.

The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, HUD-OIG, and Treasury IG – Tax Administration are investigating this case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alan R. Jackson and Frank Coan are prosecuting.