Charges filed in scam targeting elderly in Minnesotaby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A 68-year-old man has been charged with transferring at least $800,000 in a scam that targeted mostly elderly victims, authorities said Tuesday.
Thomas Lawrence Murphy was arrested in Sibley County and is being held in the county's jail after being charged with felony racketeering.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division investigated the case and accuses Murphy of being a "money mule" in the scam.
Authorities said victims from across the country were told to send large amounts of cash to Murphy for a chance to win a lottery. The money was transferred to accounts in the Philippines, although authorities don't think the scam was organized and operated from that country.
Bill White, a special agent for the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, said in a news release that the case is unusual because Murphy contacted Sibley County authorities and claimed to be a victim of the scam that he was eventually charged with participating in.
The charges stem from suspected criminal activity from August 2009 through July 2010.
Authorities said that while interviewing Murphy, he handed over express mail packages, wire transfer receipts and $10,000 in cash that had been in his freezer.