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Woman Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Couple Out of More than $100,000

A woman who defrauded an elderly couple out of more than $100,000 was sentenced on Tuesday, October 25, to nearly three years in federal prison.

Tea Lynette Ware, 37, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 9, 2016 guilty plea to two counts of mail fraud and one count of using a fictitious name in mail fraud.

At the plea hearing, and in a plea agreement, Ware admitted that from about September 2015 through February 2016, Ware participated in a scheme to defraud an elderly Illinois woman during which the victim was falsely told she had won a lottery and was entitled to large sums of money.  The victim was also told the winnings or funds could be claimed only if she first mailed Ware money for purported taxes or fees.  In truth, no such winnings existed and the calls were designed only to steal from the victim and her husband, a resident of a long-term care facility with dementia.  Like many senior citizens in the United States, the couple received unsolicited telephone calls; they even changed their telephone number to avoid unsolicited calls, but such calls nonetheless resumed after they changed their phone number.

Ware was sentenced in Cedar Rapids to 33 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $300 was imposed, and she was ordered to make $108,100 in restitution to her victims.  Further, Ware forfeited $40,000 that the government seized prior to Ware’s Indictment.  Ware must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.