Retired bricklayer, aged blind man amongst victims in $630Okay inheritance rip-off
He stands to inherit a long sentence.
A Virginia man has admitted cheating on a retired bricklayer, elderly blind man, and others of more than $ 630,000 in inheritance fraud that claimed he was the beneficiary of a multi-million dollar estate, but only if they were him might help settle his debts first.
Clarence M. Rice, Jr., 54, of Hampton, Virginia pleaded guilty to wire transfer fraud and tax evasion in the six-year program in which he convinced his victims and their families to give him more and more money with the promise that he would would repay it when he got his inheritance.
Rice imprisoned his victims by telling them he was the beneficiary of a trust that he said was worth up to $ 13 million, prosecutors said. He said the money came from an insurance benefit following his father’s death in an industrial accident in 1999. The only condition was that he could only get the money if he was out of debt.
But prosecutors said there was no trust and that Rice was unwilling to inherit any money.
A message left with his lawyer was not returned immediately. According to court records, when Rice was confronted by investigators, he alleged that he never said he stood by the inheritance of money and that his victims merely invested in his efforts to file an unlawful death lawsuit.
In his guilty guilty plea, Rice admitted that he knew his victims had limited resources and that the money he took from them would cause significant trouble.
Investigators say that in 2013, Rice first approached a 75-year-old acquaintance who was a retired bricklayer with the story of inheritance money and eventually convinced him and his wife to hand over nearly $ 370,000.
When the mason ran out of money, he pulled his friend, a 74-year-old blind man, over and persuaded him to give Rice an additional $ 143,000, according to court documents.
The mason has also enlisted several relatives and their spouses to give Rice more than $ 100,000 and told them this was a good opportunity with a guaranteed return.
In several cases, prosecutors said that Rice produced fake documents showing what he should inherit and even a victim on the phone to someone pretending to be an investment manager confirming that the money is being held in a trust .
Eventually one of the victims became suspicious and contacted the Virginia police, who eventually turned the case over to the FBI and Internal Revenue Service investigators.
Prosecutors say Rice also instructed his victims to give him the money in the form of “cash” checks and that he conducted most of his transactions with cash or prepaid debit cards in order to avoid taxes to pay on his ill-gotten gains. As of 2011, Rice stopped filing tax returns and, according to court documents, failed to pay the $ 52,000 he owed.
Rice faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted in May.