Man Who Impersonated Female AG In Prison Phone Calls To Scam $120K From 3 People Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud
CHRISTIANSTED — A St. Thomas man who used prison phone calls to steal more than $120,000 from a former doctor and two others by impersonating prominent government officials pleaded guilty today to witness tampering and other federal charges, authorities said.
United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that Yamini Potter pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343 and witness tampering/obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1512.
According to court documents, between approximately May 2019 and October 23, 2020, Potter, acting as himself, or others persons, including Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller; former Virgin Islands Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter; Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George; and former federal District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez, contacted victims M.M. and P.M. and requested money to purportedly pay for lawyers and legal fees associated with various fictitious lawsuits, which Potter knew did not exist. M.M. and P.M. paid Potter via cash, check, or wire transfer for expenses associate with these non-existent lawsuits. The total amount paid to Potter by the victims was $120,650.
After Potter was arrested and incarcerated for the above-described criminal conduct, he continued to use the Bureau of Corrections’ phone to contact his victims on a recorded line. Potter pretended to be Judge Miller on four separate calls; former Judge Gomez on nine different calls; Attorney General George on 78 calls; and former Lieutenant Governor Potter on 47 calls. During the fraud scheme, and after Potter was arrested on the federal charges, he instructed victims M.M. and P.M. not to cooperate with the federal authorities in his federal criminal case. On one occasion, he advised the victims to delete text messages between himself and the victims.
Potter will be sentenced on September 17, 2021 by Senior District Judge Timothy J. Savage and faces a maximum term of not more than 20 years imprisonment per count, three years of supervised release per count and a maximum $250,000.00 fine per count.
As part of his plea agreement, Potter agreed to pay $120,650 in restitution to P.M.’s estate.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virgin Islands Police Department, and the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alessandra P. Serano.
United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert encourages anyone, and especially elderly victims, who may be a victim of fraud – or of any other crime – to come forward and make a report to the FBI at (340) 777-3363.
For more information on the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, please see https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.