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United States v. Pearson
United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
October 18, 2016
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
FREYA D. PEARSON, Defendant.
W. HAYS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Pearson's Motion to Sever
Counts for Trial (doc #48). Defendant argues that Counts One
through Eight should be severed and separately tried from
October 28, 2014, the Grand Jury returned a nine count
indictment against defendant Freya D. Pearson. The indictment
charges in part:
1. In 2008, Marva Wilson won approximately $2 million in the
Missouri lottery. Wilson was 60 years old at the time and
financially unsophisticated. Upon winning the lottery, Wilson
bought two houses and with the aid of a financial advisor,
established an annuity that would have paid her approximately
$30,000 per year for the rest of her life.
2. In September 2009, defendant Freya Pearson created the
nonprofit entity Recidivism at Work (RAW).
3. In approximately January 2010, Wilson was introduced to
Pearson, who was unemployed. At that time, Pearson's only
income came from child support and Social Security benefits
for one of her children. In 2011, Pearson also began
receiving welfare and/or food stamp benefits.
Scheme and Artifice to Defraud Wilson and to Evade
4. In the spring of 2010, Pearson convinced Wilson to wire
transfer a total of $480,000 to Pearson's account.
Whether the money was an investment or a business loan,
Pearson materially omitted to disclose to Wilson that she
would use the money to gamble and for her own personal
5. On or about April 22, 2010, Pearson opened a Bank of
America nonprofit checking account, number ending 6167, in
the name of RAW, over which Pearson had sole signature
authority. Pearson instructed Wilson to withdraw her lottery
winnings from a John Hancock annuity account that had been
established for Wilson by a legitimate financial advisor; the
funds were then deposited into Wilson's personal checking
account at UMB, account number ending 5583.
6. On April 23, 2010, May 12, 2010, and June 3, 2010, in the
Western District of Missouri, at Pearson's direction,
Wilson wired the amounts of $180,000, $240,000, and $60,000,
respectively, from her UMB checking account into
Pearson's RAW checking account, for a total of $480,000.
7. Pearson used the $480,000 to gamble, travel, buy cars,
clothes, and furniture, and pay rent while she lived in the
St. Louis metropolitan area. No identifiable money was used
for the nonprofit entity, nor for any business purpose.
Between July 2010 and August 2011, Pearson deposited a total
of $38,170 into Wilson's account disguised as annuity or
allowance payments, bringing Pearson's unreported income
total to $441,830.
8. On or about May 18, 2010, Pearson set up an additional
Bank of America account for RAW, savings account number
ending 5535, which was used only to receive transfers from
the RAW checking account number 6167.
9. Pearson filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on
December 2, 2010, in St. Louis, Missouri, and submitted
schedules she signed under penalty of perjury stating she had
only $1,770 in assets, $91,883.42 in unsecured debts, and no
job. Pearson did not disclose either of the RAW bank
accounts, which on December 2, 2010, had balances of
$51,493.99 and $5,012.34, for a total of $56,506.33. Nor did
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