Bluefield woman admits to role in Nigerian wire fraud scam - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Bluefield woman admits to role in Nigerian wire fraud scam

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A West Virginia woman admitted in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va., to being part of a Nigerian wire fraud scheme.

Audrey Elaine Elrod, 45, of Bluefield, waived her right to be indicted and entered a guilty plea to a two-count Information charging her with one count of structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

"Ms. Elrod and her co-conspirators stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in an elaborate fraud scheme," U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said. "This United States Attorney's Office will continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud and bring those who commit such fraud to justice."

Authorities say victims of the fraud sent Elrod money, which she then "structured." Structuring involves withdrawing funds in increments of $10,000 or less in order to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Authorities say over a 17-month period $446,927 was wired to accounts Elrod controlled. During that same period she structured $411,411 in cash transactions in a bid to conceal her involvement in the scheme, forwarding most of the money to her co-conspirators in Nigeria

She faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison for structuring, with more jail time possible for committing the crimes while on pretrial release.

Investigating were the Internal Revenue Services, U.S. Marshals, the Russell County Va. sheriff's department, Bluefield, Va. police and Bluefield, W.Va. police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case.

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