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Hoschton woman convicted of fraud
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ATLANTA — After a four-day trial and the jury’s five-hour deliberation, a federal jury convicted Katherine Twigg, 48, of Hoschton on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.

According to Acting United States Attorney Yates and information presented at trial, Twigg was indicted in March as a co-conspirator in an advance fee fraud scheme that was operated between January 2004 and June 2008. Specifically, Twigg combed the internet for business owners and entrepreneurs who were seeking funding for their business projects. She sent them letters, inviting them to Atlanta to meet with her co-conspirators to discuss their potential projects and how they could best obtain funding for their business ideas.

A co-defendant in the case, Anthony Tobin, 52, of Atlanta previously pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. Tobin testified against Twigg at her trial.

After identifying and luring potential victims into the scheme, Twigg and her co-conspirators said that they had access to investment funds and venture capital through Tobin’s companies’ consortium of private investors. Victims were told they should come to Atlanta for purpose of presenting their business proposals to
receive funding from the consortium. As a precondition to this funding, the victims were required to pay non-refundable advance expenses and fees.

Twigg also served as a reference, purporting to be the owner of "Atlanta Health and Fitness," which she claimed had already successfully obtained $2 million in such funding.

At trial, one specific victim, identified as "G.W.," testified that she directly spoke to Twigg and believed Twigg’s story of obtaining $2 million, and that her reference and recommendation were the prime reasons why "G.W." sent more than $24,000 to the co-conspirators in hopes of growing her business.

Testimony at trial showed no victim received any such funding. Instead, the evidence showed that the incoming monies from the victims went to Twigg and her co-conspirators for their personal enrichment.

Tobin admitted organizing the conspiracy. More than three dozen victims lost money in the scheme with total losses estimated to be approximately $3.7 million.

The third co-defendant in the case, Eyal Dulin, 40, of Snellville remains a fugitive, possibly in South Africa. Anyone with information on Dulin is asked to call the U.S. Secret Service or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Twigg will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. No sentencing date has been set for Tobin. Twigg faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count and a fine of up to $1 million on each count. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the U.S. sentencing guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, Postal Inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.

Assistant United States Attorneys Bernita Malloy and Robert McBurney prosecuted the case.