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Illinois Couple Charged for Involvement in $2 Million Extortion and Fraud Scheme

alexander-schimmeck-H_KabGs8FMw-unsplash-300x200An Illinois couple is facing federal charges for their alleged involvement in an elaborate extortion scheme that defrauded small business owners out of an estimated $2 million.

Emmitt T. Tiner, 53, and Matissia S. Holt, 41, both of O’Fallon, IL, are charged in a 54-count indictment for running an extortion scheme, money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, using a false social security number, and sending threatening communications. Attorney information was not available.

According to a Department of Justice news release, the 53-year old defendant “devised and engaged in a five-year scheme to defraud people and businesses, particularly owners of small businesses in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and fraudulently obtain as much money as possible from them.”

After he received money from his victims, he reportedly tried to convince them that he had committed a crime on their behalf so that he could acquire the funds to repay them. He allegedly convinced his victims that they were accomplices and threatened to falsely implicate them to the police if they did not give him more money, the release states. The defendant is additionally accused of extorting his alleged victims by threatening to injure or kill them and their families. He was able to obtain more than $2 million by these means from December 2015 to November 2020, according to the release.

“The indictment describes a complex crime spree that persisted for nearly ten years. The charges accuse Tiner of various frauds, along with an audacious extortion scheme where he demanded payment after convincing victims that they would be implicated in fabricated crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft in the news release.

In addition to the fraud and extortion offenses, the two defendants from Illinois are accused of money laundering and conducting financial transactions with criminal proceeds. According to the release, they hid the funds that have been obtained from the victims by depositing those funds into bank accounts controlled by the 41-year old defendant. They allegedly then used the funds for personal expenses, including purchasing a home, two vehicles, and a lot for building a house.

Both defendants also allegedly defrauded the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) by fraudulently enrolling into its Personal Assistant Program, which pays people to work as personal assistants for disabled persons. The female defendant was listed as a personal assistant from April 2016 to December 2019, the release claims. The pair repeatedly lied to IDHS by falsely claiming the 53-year old defendant was wheelchair bound, failing to disclose large financial transfers, and certifying that the female defendant had performed work for the other defendant on several dates when they weren’t in the same city.

The husband was arraigned at an East St. Louis federal courthouse on November 23; he pleaded not guilty on all counts. The wife is scheduled to be arraigned on December 3, 2020. The investigation into the case was conducted by agents from the FBI, IRS, Illinois State Police, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration.

“Since the inception of the FBI, we have worked tirelessly to counter threats such as those posed by the defendant in this investigation,” said FBI Springfield’s Special Agent in Charge, Sean M. Cox. “Extortion of those in our communities and fraud against out citizens for the purpose of illicit gain will not be tolerated. Mr Tiner’s alleged crimes adversely affect our communities by destabilizing our financial institutions, eroding public trust and causing undue financial hardships to the people we serve.”

South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney

Are you accused of committing fraud in South Florida? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.

Source: 11.24.20 Metro east couple charged with $2 million extortion and fraud scheme.pdf

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