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Date: 12-07-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Gayle Joyce Ferngren

Case Number: 0:22-cr-00358


Court: United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (Hennepin County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Minneapolis, Minnesota criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with multiple schemes that defrauded individuals throughout the United States.

from 2017 through April 2022, Gayle Joyce Ferngren, 70, and others participated in a scheme to launder proceeds that were fraudulently obtained from victims throughout the United States, including the proceeds of romance fraud scams and schemes to defraud Federal Pandemic Assistance Programs. In total, Ferngren laundered at least $1.8 million in fraud proceeds.

According to her guilty plea, from approximately June 2020 through December 2020, Ferngren acknowledges that she received at least 68 debit cards containing approximately $1.3 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits from California and Nevada to which she was not entitled. After receiving the fraudulent proceeds, Ferngren kept a portion for herself and transmitted most of the funds to other scheme participants, including to individuals located overseas.

In addition, Ferngren participated in a “romance scam,” which is a type of fraud that targets persons looking for romantic partners or friendship on dating websites or other social media platforms. According to court documents, romance scammers create profiles using fictitious or fake names, locations, images, and personas, allowing the scammers to cultivate relationships with prospective scam victims. According to her guilty plea, Ferngren received funds from romance fraud victims under false and fraudulent pretenses after other scheme participants induced the victims to send money to Ferngren.

Ferngren was sentenced today in U.S. District Court before Judge John R. Tunheim. On May 22, 2023, she pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Department of Labor–Office of Inspector General, and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew S. Ebert prosecuted the case.

18:1341 MAIL FRAUD

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 21 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution.

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