Six defendants face 211 charges in elderly jail bail scheme

They received more than $225,000 in wire funds

CEDAR RAPIDS — Six Dubuque residents are charged in federal court with a total of 211 wire fraud charges stemming from a scheme that targeted elderly people by falsely telling them a relative was in jail and they needed to send bail money.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court states the six defendants collectively received $225,770 in wired funds from the victims from December 2015 through September 2016.

The six defendants are Tobey Hines, 33; Tiffany Reynolds, 32; Joshua Willis, 21; Payton McCarville, 23; Morgan Cornell, 20; and Paul Chase, 34, all from Dubuque or surrounding areas.

Hines, Reynolds, Cornell and Chase appeared in court Tuesday on the charges but Willis and McCarville’s court appearances are pending.

The indictment shows the defendants participated in a scheme to defraud people throughout the country and that the fraud primarily targeted elderly people. The defendants would call an individual and falsely tell them that a relative is in jail, according to court records. The defendants would then ask the person to wire bail money via Western Union or Money Gram to get the relative released, court documents state.

The indictment shows the participants would pick up the wire transfers and, eventually, some would send the money overseas.

There are also 14 others charged in the scheme who were arrested Tuesday and appeared in Dubuque County District Court.

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Four other people previously pleaded guilty in March and May to their role in a similar scheme to defraud elderly victims last year.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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