On May 20, 2020 Gerald Harrison, 53, and Elizabeth Williams, 55, both of Mint Hill, N.C., pleaded guilty to federal charges for conspiring with each other and other individuals to steal more than $400,000 from an elderly victim who suffered from dementia.
According to Harrison and Williams’ plea agreements, court documents filed in the case, and court proceedings, from January 2015 through September 2019, Harrison, Williams, and a co-conspirator engaged in a scheme to defraud a elderly woman with dementia.
The victim was an elderly widow who lived alone in Mint Hill, NC and suffered from dementia and other physical and mental challenges. Beginning in February 2014, Williams provided housekeeping services for the victim through a business owned and operated by a co-conspirator. Harrison, Williams, and a co-conspirator isolated the victim from her friends and family, and induced the victim to give them power and control over her financial and personal affairs.
Once they gained access and control, Williams, Harrison, and a co-conspirator engaged in numerous illegal and unauthorized financial transactions that substantially depleted the victim’s money and property.
Specifically, the suspects emptied the victim’s bank accounts and used the money to pay for personal expenses, they fraudulently “maxed out” at least one credit card in the victim’s name, they fraudulently transferred or attempted to transfer the victim’s assets to themselves, they pawned the victim’s jewelry, and they stole the victim’s federal benefits.
Additionally, Williams unlawfully used the victim’s money to set up other businesses in her name, including a business selling handbags online and a business selling weight loss-related services. As a result of the fraudulent scheme, the co-conspirators defrauded the victim of more than $400,000.
Harrison pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen property, and money laundering conspiracy.
Williams pleaded guilty to the same charges. The wire fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The interstate transportation of stolen property charge carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. The statutory maximum penalty for the money laundering conspiracy charge is 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.