Hampton Man, Clarence M. Rice Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Victims and Tax Evasion
NEWPORT NEWS, VA (STL.News) A Hampton man pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding victims in the Hampton Roads area out of more than $630,000 and evading the assessment of more than $50,000 in income taxes.
According to court documents, between 2013 and 2019, Clarence M. Rice Jr., 54, falsely represented to victims that he was going to receive a sizeable inheritance from his father’s death, under the condition that Rice paid off all his existing debts. He tricked victims into giving him large sums of money using the false representations that he needed the funds to obtain his inheritance.
As a result of his fraud scheme, Rice stole more than $350,000 from a 75-year-old retired bricklayer and more than $140,000 from an elderly blind man. In total, Rice obtained at least $632,017.44 in fraudulent proceeds from the scheme. As part of the plea, Rice agreed that all his victims were of limited financial means and suffered substantial hardship from his fraud.
Despite earning income from his fraud scheme, Rice has not filed taxes since 2011. Between 2015 and 2019, he defrauded the IRS by living a cash lifestyle, negotiating checks from victims for U.S. currency instead of depositing them in bank accounts, hiding assets on prepaid cards, and lying to law enforcement about his income and assets. The approximate tax due and owing resulting from Rice’s failure to pay his personal income tax is $52,064.18.
Rice pleaded guilty to wire fraud and evasion of income tax assessment and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2022. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the fraud offense and a maximum of five years in prison for the tax evasion. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Darrell J. Waldon, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Mack Coleman and Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Samuels are prosecuting the case.
Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10 percent of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness. This holistic and robust response demonstrates the Department’s unwavering dedication to fighting for justice for older Americans.