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Rush City Woman Pleads Guilty to $1.8 Million Scheme Involving Romance Fraud and Federal Pandemic Programs

US Attorney's Office District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – A Rush City woman has pleaded guilty to mail fraud after participating in multiple schemes that defrauded individuals throughout the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, from 2017 through April 2022, Gayle Joyce Ferngren, 69, and others participated in a scheme to launder proceeds that were fraudulently obtained from victims throughout the United States, including the proceeds of romance fraud scams and schemes to defraud Federal Pandemic Assistance Programs.

According to her guilty plea, from approximately June 2020 through December 2020, Ferngren acknowledges that she received at least 68 debit cards containing approximately $1.3 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits from California and Nevada to which she was not entitled. After receiving the fraudulent proceeds, Ferngren kept a portion for herself and transmitted most of the funds to other scheme participants, including to individuals located overseas.  In total, Ferngren laundered at least $1.8 million in fraud proceeds. 


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