Washington man sentenced for defrauding over $2M from Alaskans

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A man from Washington state is sentenced to serve 10 years behind bars for a scheme in which he defrauded people in Alaska and elsewhere for roughly $2.7 million. The man's first victim wound up dying from cancer after losing his house in the scam.

Floyd Jay Mann, Jr., 56, of Puyallup, Washington, was found guilty for operating what prosecutors called an "advance fee scam," where financial contributors were promised a sizable return for helping with Mann with a lawsuit. The only problem was, the lawsuit didn't exist, and instead Mann was using the money his victims gave him to gamble at casinos.

The scheme began with defrauding one of Mann's elderly neighbors, who was a cancer patient. Mann convinced his neighbor that he, too, had cancer, and that he was participating in a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company, and would soon be receiving a multimillion dollar settlement.

"The neighbor gave so much money to Mann’s scheme he lost his house and then succumbed to his cancer," prosecutors wrote in a statement Tuesday. "Meanwhile, Mann moved on to the elderly neighbor’s friends and relatives in Dillingham."

Mann told further victims that they would see a big payout if they helped pay his medical bills and lawsuit expenses, but only after he received his huge settlement.

Prosecutors say that there was no settlement, and that there was no lawsuit at all. Instead, they say he was pocketing the money his victims gave him, and using it so gamble at casinos, "collecting over $1 million in jackpots while receiving need-based social security benefits."

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Mann's wife, Cheryl Mann, was involved in collecting the $81,000 in social security income benefits. She was found to have won $125,000 though similar casino gambling.

After Mann was caught and charged, he pleaded guilty to over 11 counts of fraud, and eight counts of laundering money. As part of the plea agreement, he must also repay those he scammed. Cheryl Mann is ordered to pay back the $81,000 sum and serve three years of probation.

At the sentencing, presiding Judge Burgess called Mann was a “dogged, determined, charlatan” and through his “sophisticated, devious, and calculating" nature, caused “permanent financial and emotional damage to dozens of people.”