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Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Totaling $2.6 Million

Dec 17 | 2012  by

While we may not often think of inmates as vulnerable, it is upon these individuals that John Wilson preyed, conning both the inmates and their families out of $2.6 million.

It has been two years since Wilson was accused, but he has finally pled guilty to fraud. Wilson worked with Lari Zeka, a Macomb Township man, running three businesses that sent mailings to inmates across the nation.

The mailings, which targeted both the inmates and their families, presented an offer of legal services on the inmate’s behalf. The catch, however, was the necessity of payment upfront, money that would supposedly be used for legal research and lawyer retainer fees.

The research would help toward the inmate’s appeal, while the retainer fee would be put toward the case. Once fees were paid, however, the money disappeared. No research was conducted and no attorney was ever assigned to work on the inmate’s appeal.

Wilson seemed to target both black and Hispanic inmates specifically; however, the nature of the scheme was universal in nature. The mailings preyed upon the desperate desire of family members to help their loved ones behind bars.

As a result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Wilson was indicted on 66 counts of mail fraud in October 2010 and finally pleaded guilty in January. For now, he awaits sentencing. To learn more and read the original article, please visit the Justice Department website.