Utah parolee admits to targeting elderly girl in ‘romance fraud’ scenario

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Utah parolee admits to targeting elderly woman in ‘romance fraud’ case

SALT LAKE Metropolis — A 51-12 months-previous convicted assassin has admitted to thieving practically $274,000 from an aged Utah female in a situation of “romance fraud” and now faces 10 several years in federal jail.

Frank Gene Powell, 51, of Hurricane, pleaded responsible in U.S. District Courtroom to conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, dollars laundering, two counts of destruction of information in a federal investigation, concealment of a document or item in an try to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an formal proceeding, and tampering with a witness.

Powell expended 29 decades in the Utah Point out Prison for the murder of a gentleman in Utah County in 1987 that commenced as a combat about whose truck was more rapidly. He also was convicted of sexually assaulting an inmate though incarcerated.

Investigators say Powell was the ringleader in the rip-off that included seven other folks, like his 74-calendar year-old mother Gloria Jean Powell, of St. George, and his sister Angela McDuffie, 53, of Lehi.

He was on parole when he qualified the 80-year-outdated widow with a diminished psychological capacity who lives in the southern Utah city of Washington previous March. He was arrested in California very last drop on a parole violation and returned to jail in Utah.

Powell knocked on the woman’s door and explained to her he believed her house necessary repairs and he was eager to do it for a charge. Careers incorporated painting the exterior of the dwelling, resurfacing the driveway and carrying out property work. Most of the get the job done was not concluded and was really very poor good quality when it was performed, in accordance to files.

Powell and the many others persuaded the girl to pay out up entrance by cashing personal checks and giving them the revenue as effectively as composing checks immediately to them, amounting to at least $275,000, authorities say. Powell also persuaded her to deed above her Kolob-space cabin. He acquired a 2019 GMC Sierra pickup with some of the revenue.

In addition to financial fraud, investigators say Powell engaged in “romance fraud” by telling the girl he planned to marry her, despite his longtime passionate romantic relationship with an additional female. The female, Faye Ann Renteria, of St. George, also faces criminal fees in the scenario.

Investigators say the elderly girl, identified in court paperwork as L.N., obtained a two-web page, handwritten letter from Powell on when he was in jail very last November with smiley faces and the terms “sealed with a lot of care” on the envelope.

“Hey nowadays I was informed I took $250,000.00 from you and that you are mad and dislike me. I pray that is not accurate and when you get this all labored out we are nevertheless having married and you adore me. Really don’t give up on us we belong jointly in this entire world. Make sure you inform me you are continue to with me. I really don’t know if my coronary heart will make it devoid of you,” the letter read, according to court files.

Powell’s plea agreement consists of a 10-calendar year jail phrase matter to court docket approval. He is scheduled to be sentenced May perhaps 20 in St. George.

“Powell is a career legal who has fended off many years of rehabilitative tries in the Utah condition legal justice program. He’s a convicted murderer and sexual predator, who has now turned his felony initiatives to elder fraud even though on point out parole,” said U.S. Legal professional for Utah John Huber. “With these guilty pleas, he stands convicted of unconscionable crimes from a senior member of the St. George group.”

7 some others, together with McDuffie, deal with legal expenses in the situation. Gloria Powell pleaded responsible to hiding cash to impede an FBI investigation. She is scheduled to be sentenced Might 6.