Authorities charge 20 Dubuque-area residents in elderly jail bail scheme

Published: Aug. 29, 2017 at 9:30 PM CDT
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Federal authorities Tuesday accused six Dubuque-area residents of participating in a scheme to defraud people throughout the United States. Authorities said the scheme primarily targeted the elderly.

In addition, local authorities arrested 14 others on state-level charges.

A federal indictment states the participants in the scheme would call a person on the phone, falsely telling that person a relative was in jail. The caller then asked the person to wire money for bail to get the relative released.

34-year-old Paul Chase, 20-year-old Morgan Cornell, 33-year-old Tobey Hines, 23-year-old Payton McCarville, 32-year-old Tiffany Reynolds, and 21-year-old Joshua Willis each face a federal wire fraud charge.

The indictment states the six defendants collectively received $225,770 in wired funds from the victims from December 2015 through September 2016.

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

The 14 other Dubuque residents arrested are facing theft and other charges in Dubuque County.

They are:

  • Jenna N. Bowman, 19
  • Adriana M. Flores, 20
  • Nicholas R. Frey, 20
  • Austin C. Guler, 20
  • Jason D. Harris, 22
  • Jalisa E. Jones, 29
  • Shawn D. Manning, 28
  • Ryan P. McMahon, 24
  • Amanda L. Reeves, 19
  • Shelby R. Richey, 19
  • Jacob C. Schmitz, 32
  • Nicole M. Sharkey, 19
  • John J. Thoma, 18
  • Lawrence L. Williams, 32

Earlier this year, federal authorities charged five other Dubuque area residents in a similar scheme.

Carlos Rodriguez, Shawn Vaasseen, Michael Marcov and Stephanie Marcov each pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this year. Vaasseen also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun.

Cody Richey also was charged with wire fraud.

Dubuque Police and federal agents started investigating the Dubuque-area group in April 2016.

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