Gaithersburg Woman Sentenced To 12 Years On Fraud Convictions

She will also have to pay restitution.

Greenbelt, Md (KM) A Gaithersburg woman was sentenced on Friday to 12 years in federal prison on  charges of wire fraud,  and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud for a scheme related to debt elimination and wealth management.  Mary Ann Mendoza, 51,—–who also went by the names “Mary Ann Manuel,” “Trinity,” “M3” and “Emily James”— was also ordered by a federal judge to pay a forfeiture money judgment $981,293,07,, and restitution of $3,,281,109.38. .

She will also be placed on three-years supervised release after she’s let out of prison.

The US Attorney’s Office for Maryland says Mendoza and her co-defendant, Wille Lamont Hicks, 52, of Kansas City, Missouri,–who also went under the aliases of “Will Woodward,” and “C.W.” —represented themselves as partners and husband and wife. They held in-person trainings between 2011 and 2017, which they said would help victims with discharging their debts, including mortgage and credit card debts. They also offered to do this for a fee in the form of cash, wire transfers, personal and cashiers checks, or  the use of the victim’s credit.

In 2017, prosecutors say, Mendoza and Hicks caused one of the victims to transfer almost $100,000 from the victim’s bank account to the fraudulent corporate amounts owned by the two defendants.

During their seven-day trial last year. federal prosecutors argued that Mendoza and Hicks used the victims’ personal identifying information without the victims’ knowledge and permission, and provided them with fraudulent documents, including some from the IRS, and  memorandums of agreement, which defendants told the victims were necessary to discharge the debts. The two defendants also mailed these documents to the victims’ creditors and the IRS.   Mendoza and Hicks said this effectuated the discharge of the victims’ debts.

The US Attorney’s Office says as a result of this scheme, the victims suffered financial a harm, including foreclosure and eviction, homelessness, depletion of their retirement accounts, a significant downgrading of their credit scores, bankruptcy, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, and penalties owed to the IRS.

Both defendants were convicted on October 4th, 2023 after a seven-day trial. .

Hicks was sentenced on February 15th, 2024 to 22 years in federal prison,   He was also ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $1,649, 897.33, and pay restitution of $3,281,109.38.

By Kevin McManus