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He convinced veteran they were friends — but it was ploy to steal over $50K, feds say

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A Louisiana man convinced an “elderly” veteran they were friends for more than a year — but it was a ploy to steal more than $50,000 from him, federal prosecutors said.

Over the course of 16 months, the man “took advantage” of his friendship with the veteran by asking him to borrow money until his “large inheritance” arrived, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.

In reality, the inheritance never existed, prosecutors said.

Shawn Phillips, 44, of Baton Rouge, has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison after officials said he convinced the veteran, whose age was not specified, to “fund his lifestyle,” according to a June 13 news release. He was convicted of wire fraud.

McClatchy News has contacted Phillips’ attorney for comment and was awaiting a response.

From January 2020 until May 2021, Phillips is accused of asking the veteran to loan him money 340 times, and the veteran agreed, according to court documents.

At one point, the veteran believed Phillips needed more money to get his purported inheritance “out of the court system” as a result of the lies he was told, the news release said.

Meanwhile, “at no point was Phillips expecting any inheritance.”

Over the course of the scheme, Phillips moved to Georgia and persuaded the veteran to keep sending him money through wire transfers, according to prosecutors.

Eventually, the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation began investigating Phillips, and he was indicted in October 2021, the attorney’s office said.

Phillips still faces “pending state charges” in connection with the case and has been ordered to pay $50,718, which is the amount he is accused of stealing, in restitution, according to the news release.


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