We often associate violent crimes with prison sentences. However, white-collar crimes committed by fraudsters are also treated very seriously. Recently, a Newnan man was jailed for scamming an elderly victim.
Prosecutors claimed during a hearing in January, 55-year-old Anthony Holman scammed a fellow church member out of thousands of dollars and subjected her to one of the worst periods of her life.
In a blind plea, Superior Court Judge Emory Palmer sentenced Holman, to serve three years behind bars – a sentence even greater than prosecutors bargained for, reported the Newnan Times-Herald.
Prosecutors said Holman befriended a fellow church member at the Higher Dimensions Church in Decatur during the summer of 2015. He discovered the elderly victim’s husband was the victim of malpractice by a nursing student. The Times-Herald reported Holman volunteered to file a civil suit on the woman’s behalf against the nursing home where the malpractice occurred.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Hurley said Holman set up an elaborate scam. He told the victim he was connected to a federal judge. Holman allegedly set up a three-way phone call between the victim, himself and the “judge.” Holman pretended to be the judge, Hurley said.
Before each conversation, Holman told the victim she had to pay a fee to keep the case moving along, Hurley told the court.
He scheduled meetings with the judge but then found reasons why the meeting had to be canceled. The victim lost her husband during this time.
Hurley said the victim eventually realized she was being scammed. However, by the time the realization dawned on her, the statute of limitations ran out for filing any kind of legal action against the nursing home.
The victim lost about $19,000, according to reports. She sent Holman money through Western Union transfers from Walmart. Newnan-based investigators and a loss prevention officer from Walmart looked at receipts and eventually found one where Holman signed for the money. Hurley said:
“We believe he took around $19,000 from the victim, although we could only prove $7,355 from our jurisdiction. We believe other investigations are possibly underway in other jurisdictions.”
Holman entered a blind plea to theft by deception. Prosecutors asked the judge for a sentence of 10 years with two to serve behind bars. Despite the fact Holman had no criminal record, Palmer thought three years was a more appropriate decision based on the circumstances of scamming an elderly victim. Hurley said:
“In a church setting, you should be able to trust people even more. You have a responsibility to protect and be good stewards of their money, especially when someone is in the most vulnerable position in their life. She’s lost her husband, money and is now at the mercy of friends and family.”
Holman will be required to pay back the $7,355 to the widow on his release.
Judges and juries take crimes involving scammers very seriously, particularly when victims are vulnerable. If you have been charged with a crime of this nature, you should call a Newnan criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible at (404) 913-1529.