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Las Vegas woman indicted after convincing victim to send her $25K in a 'lottery scam'

Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 31, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas resident Shelly Anne Leipham is facing fraud charges, according to acting United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard.

Leipham, 65, was indicted on March 2 on three counts of “Wire Fraud,” 5 counts of “Mail Fraud,” and 3 counts of “Money Laundering.” Leipham is accused of calling an elderly victim living in Harrison County and claiming the victim won one million dollars. Leipham is accused of defrauding the victim of nearly $25,000 by directing the victim to send that amount to her over the course of a two-year period by mail and wire.

“This case showcases just one of the many ways people prey on our elderly neighbors. Lottery scams aren’t new, and it’s most despicable when the perpetrator targets someone who is vulnerable. We encourage everyone to be vigilant and suspicious. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam,” said Bernard.

The government is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $336,402.

Leipham is facing up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the wire fraud and mail fraud counts. She’s facing up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $500,000 for each of the money laundering counts. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Wagner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Internal Revenue Service and the West Virginia State Police investigated.

This case is being prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice Elder Fraud Initiative. Since the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) was signed into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors.

An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.