Joliet Woman Admits To Bilking Elderly Victim Out Of $1.6M

A Joliet woman is admitting to using threats and intimidation to bilk an elderly victim out of more than one-point-six-million-dollars. Lee Turner also known as “Ashley Turner” pleaded guilty last week to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to promote and carry on unlawful activity. Prosecutors say Turner confessed that from 2018 to 2021, she took the money by communicating numerous threats and fraudulent statements to the victim. The scam involved her threatening to expose the victim’s criminal activity, despite not knowing if any crimes were committed. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8th.

Full press release below from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois:

LEE TURNER, also known as “Ashley Turner,” 40, of Joliet, Ill., pleaded guilty on May 16, 2023, to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to promote and carry on unlawful activity, namely theft and intimidation.  The conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah set sentencing for Sept. 8, 2023.

Turner admitted in a plea agreement that from 2018 to 2021 she communicated numerous threats and fraudulent statements to the victim, who was in his seventies and had limited vision.  Turner’s communications threatened to expose the victim’s purported criminal activity, even though Turner had no knowledge of any such activity committed by the victim.  Turner took on false personas to convey false statements purportedly from others, including alleged gang members, individuals involved in organized crime, prosecutors, journalists, and corrupt law enforcement officers.

In one example cited in the plea agreement, Turner, using the alias “Big Joe,” sent a series of messages to the victim, claiming that the victim had to pay $30,000 to prevent law enforcement from raiding the victim’s residence and a relative’s residence.  On June 13, 2019, the victim paid Turner $30,000 to avoid the purported raids, the plea agreement states.  The money was one of dozens of similar payments, ranging in value from $5,000 to $66,000, that the victim made to Turner.  In all, Turner received $1,611,975 from the victim as a result of the scam, the plea agreement states.

The guilty plea was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, and Eric Rossi, Chief of the Orland Park Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David B. Green.