The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 27, 2014

Two plead guilty to wire, mail fraud in debt-elimination scheme

From staff, wire reports

— An Alabama man and a Missouri man have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a debt-elimination scheme.

Bradford Lamar Daley of Phenix City and Terril Yarham of Missouri pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Charles Coody for engaging in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Daley also pleaded guilty to money laundering and tax fraud. George Beck Jr., United States attorney for the  Middle District of Alabama, made the announcement Thursday.

According to court documents, between 2005 and 2011 Daley and Yarham solicited individuals who were heavily burdened by debt to  pay them between $2,500 and $5,000 for debt elimination services. In exchange for the payment, Yarham promised to assume and eliminate the victims’ unsecured debt, including credit card debt, signature loans, business loans, student loans and personal loans. These debts were not eliminated as promised. During the course of this conspiracy, records show Daley and Yarham profited more than $5 million dollars. As part of the plea agreement, Daley agreed to forfeit more than $5 million dollars, a beach house in Florida, nearly 40 acres of land in Georgia, vehicles, and two UPS stores located in Georgia.

“Since our founding in 1772, postal inspectors have sought to ensure the U.S. mail is not used for illegal gain,” said Robert Wemyss, United States postal inspector in charge, Houston division. “When criminals use the mail to commit fraud, postal inspectors will not hesitate to ensure they are brought to justice.

"Daley exploited unsuspecting individuals by perpetrating a scheme that was based entirely on lies," said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot. "In addition, Mr. Daley concealed the income and failed to pay taxes on the income. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to addressing financial fraud at every level and is proud to have worked with our  law enforcement partners in this case."

“I want to thank the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the IRS for their tireless work on this case,” Beck said. “This district is lucky to have such capable agencies protecting the victims of financial crimes. What these defendants did was deplorable and their pleading guilty is justice served.”

A sentencing date has not been set. Daley and Yarham face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, five years supervised release  and a fine of $250,000.

Beck and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Valeska are prosecuting the case.