Irish Travelers make plea deals in racketeering case

All 22 defendants in a federal racketeering involving Irish Travelers from Murphy Village have agreed to plea deals.

The agreement calls for them to plead guilty to one count of “conspiracy to racketeer,” which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The plea agreements were filed with the US District Court in Columbia on Thursday.

All 22 defendants in a federal racketeering case involving Irish Travelers from Murphy Village have agreed to plea deals, according to court documents.

The agreements call for them to plead guilty to one count of “conspiracy to racketeer,” which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The plea agreements were filed with the US District Court in Columbia on Thursday. A date for sentencing had not been set.

The agreements require the defendants to forfeit any property seized by the government, including cars and houses, and to make restitution to “each and every identifiable victim who may have been harmed by the scheme or pattern of criminal activity.” Defendants are also required to help the government identify “all victims.”

The original indictment, issued in August, alleged that defendants participated in a number of fraudulent schemes to obtain life insurance benefits, food stamps and Medicaid funds, and committed fraud involving automobile financing.

All 22 were charged with RICO conspiracy. Some also were charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, structuring monetary transactions to evade reporting requirements, or interstate transportation of stolen items.

Charges other than the one count of conspiracy will be dismissed if defendants abide by the terms of the agreements.

The defendants were accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamp benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by submitting false information about their income and employment on food stamp applications and re-certifications.

They also were accused of obtaining health benefits under Medicaid by submitting false information on applications, and of doing the same to get loans to buy vehicles and sometimes rolling back the odometers of vehicles they traded or sold, according to the indictment.

Similarly, false information was used to obtain health and life insurance policies, whose purchases also constituted money-laundering because they were paid for with money obtained through other criminal acts, the indictment says.

Reach James Folker at (706) 823-3338 or james.folker@augustachronicle.com

Recent criminal allegations not new for Irish Travelers in Murphy Village
Val White 4 days ago

The last 40 years that I have lived here I've heard of the "travelers" being involved in illegal deeds, scams, and cons.  My question is, why are they all not in prison long before this?


BTW - they are not the only ones who have falsified info to get SNAP.  Why haven't there been tighter controls on who gets our money.  Income tax records, personal visits to recipients' homes to evaluate assets, follow-up unannounced visits, work records and/or medical records.  Most important, supervisors who will say NO to those who do not meet the criteria.


When a case worker is interviewing an applicant, many conclusions can be reached about the applicant if the case worker is astute.  Unfortunately, the case workers sometimes are either told to grant all applicants aid or the case workers have their own agenda.


I worked for DFACS in south  Georgia for two weeks before I ended up walking out.  Able-bodied males came in demanding to know why their check was late, a pregnant woman - with her NINTH child - came in to update her file so she could get more money.  Sorry, but I couldn't stomach it!  

Apollo Sayer 4 days ago
I worked at DFACS as well, once upon a time, and also have been disgusted by the freeloaders and mercenary baby factories. However, there actually is another side to this for people genuinely in need because of some disaster or unexpected set-back.

I have a friend who was quite well off and lived a very nice life with a beautiful home, high-end automobiles and excellent private schools for the kids. Then her husband lost his very high salaried job with Lehman Brothers, or some such, during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

They lost their house and almost everything else of any value except their cars, two Mercedes, which were already paid off. The sold off one but kept the other so they had at least one mode of  transportation.

He couldn't find another job making more than a pittance for a very long time and their family of five desperately needed and legitimately qualified for food stamps. She had to drive it to the grocery store and got hate looks every time she went because of her car.

People were very quick to judge because her clothes still hadn't gone too far out of style and she was obviously educated and sophisticated. Plus, that car.  They had absolutely no idea of the devastation that family had experienced, but based on how she looked, they were ready to condemn her for humbling herself to accept assistance so that her children could still eat until they got back on their feet.

And that last is the key point: accepting assistance UNTIL they got back on their feet. It should be that way for everyone receiving public aid.
William Morris 4 days ago
Val I agree with you. Most of those could work but are just plain out lazy good for nothing mochers.
B. M. Michales 3 days ago
This group has been scamming local residents and businesses for many years. They go to a restaurant, complain about the food and or service after they have had their fill, then they don't want to pay. They buy clothes, wear the clothes to a special occasion, then return the clothes for a refund. They have many, many other scams.

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