BOSTON – A former Nantucket Bank employee pleaded guilty today to her role in two fraud conspiracies.
Rushell Harris, 32, of Nantucket, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Jan. 27, 2022. Harris was charged on Sept. 16, 2021.
Between approximately June 2014 and November 2018, Harris engaged in two separate wire fraud conspiracies. In the first conspiracy, Harris exploited her position at Nantucket Bank by obtaining personally identifiable information of a customer and surreptitiously taking photographs of the victim’s account information. Harris then shared that information with co-conspirators who attempted to transfer funds out of the customer’s bank account without authorization.
In the second conspiracy, Harris helped perpetuate a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting at least 13 victims. According to the charging documents, victims were contacted by co-conspirators via phone and informed that they won large prizes, and that in order to receive the funds they needed to pre-pay taxes on their winnings. In reality, no such prizes existed. After victims made an initial payment, they were advised that additional advance payments were required for expenses such as insurance, transportation or other international customs’ fees. Harris and her co-conspirators transferred proceeds of the scheme to associates in Jamaica and in the United States.
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Nantucket Police Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.