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Amarillo Woman Convicted After Defrauding Investors in Annuity Scam

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

An Amarillo woman has been convicted on conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering charges, after defrauding investors.

Late last Friday, a federal jury convicted 60-year-old Janice Edwina Demmitt on a majority of the federal felony offenses charged in a 27-count indictment against her and her son.

Demmitt was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts of wire fraud, and 11 counts of money laundering. Her son, Timothy Fry, pleaded guilty last month to one count of money laundering, and both he and his mother remain free on bond.

Fry and Demmitt ran an insurance agency in Amarillo, and sold annuities to investors, most of whom were elderly. The two told investors that a company which they were licensed to sell insurance for, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, would match each investment up to $100,000, and to cash-in or borrow against existing annuities.

Rather than reinvesting the funds, Demmitt and Fry pocketed the extra money, totaling more than $600,000 in client funds.

Each of the money laundering counts and the conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution may also be ordered later.

Sentencing will take place in October.

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