Altoona man pleads guilty in $1 million fraud scheme

Local News

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — US Attorney Scott Brady announced that an Altoona man pleaded guilty in federal court on charges of tax evasion and wire fraud.

Patrick LeMarsh, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

The charges come after LeMarsh defrauded TracFone and Walmart by selling fraudulent Straight Talk airtime cards on Amazon.com.

According to the court reports, LaMarsh would re-encode Straight Talk prepaid wireless cards and sold them for a discount. Statements show he brought in roughly $1,000,000 in sales.

LaMarsh then used that money to buy precious metals and a recreational vehicle. He was also found to have nominee bank accounts to conceal the income. A nominee account is a type of account in which a stockbroker holds shares belonging to clients, making buying and selling those shares easier.

Sentencing for LaMarsh is scheduled for June 24, 2020. He’s currently facing a total of five years for each count of tax evasions and another 20 years for each count of wire fraud, a fine of $475,000, or both.

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