Baton Rouge Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding an Elderly Veteran
Published 1:22 pm Monday, June 13, 2022
United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced that U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced Shawn Phillips, age 44, of Baton Rouge, to 33 months in federal prison following his conviction for wire fraud, to run consecutively to his pending state charges. The Court further sentenced Phillips to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $50,718.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, Phillips befriended the victim, then took advantage of that friendship to steal over $50,718 over a 16-month period, January of 2020 to May of 2021. Phillips convinced the victim to loan him the money by claiming he needed to borrow money until his large inheritance came in. Yet, unbeknownst to the victim, at no point was Phillips expecting any inheritance.
Even when Phillips left Baton Rouge and moved to Georgia, he continued his scheme, convincing the victim to send 43 wire transfers from Baton Rouge to Georgia to fund his lifestyle there. Throughout the course of the scheme, Phillips continued his fraudulent assertion that he was waiting on an inheritance, even at points claiming to need additional money from the victim to get the ‘inheritance’ out of the court system.
This matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill, who also serves as the Elder Justice Coordinator for the Middle District of Louisiana.
The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative aims to combat elder financial exploitation by expanding efforts to investigate and prosecute financial scams that target seniors; educate older adults on how to identify scams and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud; and promote greater coordination with law enforcement partners. For more information, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).