Jamaican National Charged with Debt Relief Scam

Jamaican National Charged with Debt Relief Scam

Defendant Extradited from Jamaica to Answer Eight-Count Indictment

            WASHINGTON – Sereika Savariau, also known as Sereika Savariau-Goodison, 36, of Jamaica, appeared in U.S. federal court today and was arraigned on an eight-count indictment charging her with creating a series of fraudulent debt relief companies that tricked U.S. victims into paying fees and disclosing personal identifying information, sensitive information, and identity documents to obtain debt relief, which did not actually exist. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Sally Luttrell Assistant Inspector General for Investigations U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General

            On December 2, 2021, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count sealed indictment charging Savariau with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, four counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. The indictment alleges that between 2016 and 2018, Savariau conspired with others to profit from fees paid by victims of fraudulent debt relief companies.  The indictment alleges that conspirators created and operated fraudulent businesses and websites that marketed and sold fraudulent debt relief services to members of the public. Conspirators fraudulently misrepresented that members of the public could apply for and obtains thousands of dollars’ worth of debt relief on their outstanding, unpaid bills in the form of grants, all in exchange for payment of a service processing fee. Conspirators also claimed that the purported debt relief was funded and administered by the U.S. government. Through their false representations, Savariau and her co-conspirators are alleged to have induced or attempted to induce victims throughout the United States to pay over a million dollars’ worth of service processing fees to Savariau and her co-conspirators via Western Union, Money Gram, PayPal, and other payment mechanisms.

            Savariau arrived in the D.C. metropolitan area on Thursday after being extradited from Jamaica. At today’s initial appearance, the Honorable Zia M. Faruqui ordered that she be held without bond pending her next hearing, which is scheduled for September 20, 2023.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Savariau. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Louisa Becker and Ashley Pungello, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kondi Kleinman.

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