This week, it was announced that a woman from Owings Mills, Maryland had pleaded guilty just days before she was scheduled to go to trial. 47-year-old Lauren Montillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to tax evasion. According to the defendant’s plea agreement, she and her co-conspirators sought at least $8.7 million in advance fees from foreign and United States victims from 2010 through 2015. They did so while purporting to offer access to exotic bank financial instructions.
In total, victims paid $4,342,540 in advance fees into Hong Kong bank accounts or attorney escrow accounts. They received nothing in return. Montillo reported no income other than $100 for the tax years 2012 through 2014. This allowed her to evade a substantial amount of income taxes. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy and 5 years for tax evasion. She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2019. Three other defendants were charged in a related case in the Western District of Texas.
Further details can be found here.