Two New Yorkers have been sentenced to prison terms for their part in a fraudulent advance-fee scam involving a supposed $23 billion Federal Reserve note that spanned years and defrauded victims across the country of millions of dollars.
Robert Ingram was sentenced to 144 months in prison and Olivia Jeanne Bowen was senteced to 63 months. Ingram pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 8, 2010, and Bowen pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 13, 2010.
According to testimony in the case, beginning in at least 2005, Ingram held himself out as the director of an investment program that would enable investors to share in the proceeds of an alleged $23 billion "note" underwritten by the Federal Reserve.
Ingram and Bowen, who told victims that she was a "facilitator" for Ingram's investment program, induced victims to invest by promising them huge returns on their investments within a matter of weeks. Year after year, Ingram, Bowen and their co-conspirators persuaded victims to give them money from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars by telling them that the money would be used to pay the final fees or expenses associated with gaining access to the proceeds of the alleged $23 billion note.
In reality, the note did not exist, and Ingram and Bowen used the victims money to spend lavishly on themselves and distributed the victims money to other co-conspirators.
For example, Ingram spent the victims money on cosmetic surgery, stays at luxury hotels, and extravagant purchases at retailers such as Christian Dior, among other things. As a result of the fraud committed by Ingram, Bowen, and their co-conspirators, some victims lost their life savings and their homes.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Leonard B. Sand also sentenced the defendants each to a term of three years of supervised release. He also entered Preliminary Orders of Forfeiture against Bowen in the amount of $12 million, and against Ingram in the amount of $7 million.
During the sentencing proceeding, Judge Sand stated that Ingram and Bowen committed a "vicious crime" that "was carefully thought out" and caused "absolute devastation" to "so many victims."