Georgia Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Arkansas Cousin

A 69-year-old Georgia man was sentenced Friday to 71 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $228,582 in restitution for defrauding an elderly relative who sought his help in investing money from a nursing home settlement.

Rodney Callaway had originally been sued by Arkansas Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure in March 2010, but he was ultimately charged with 11 felony counts by federal prosecutors in the Western District of Arkansas. He was convicted on Feb. 1 of 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud by a federal court jury.

“It is despicable that someone would take advantage of an elderly relative — who depended upon that money for their medical care — in a fraudulent scheme to benefit themselves. With the hard work of the FBI and this office, this individual has been held accountable, and a statement has been made that this conduct is unacceptable,” U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge said in announcing the sentenct.

According to the indictment, Callaway was contacted in June 2005 by his first cousin, Irene Bryant of Benton County, for investment advice on behalf of her sister, Sharon Carter, who had received a settlement for injuries she had suffered in a nursing home.

Callaway, according to the evidence, claimed that he was a trustee for Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation Inc. and that he could safely invest the money with EPAFI on very favorable terms. Relying on this advice, Callaway’s cousin provided Callaway with $300,000 which was needed to take care of her sister’s medical and other needs. Instead of investing the money as promised, Callaway converted the money to his own use and then made repeated false representations to his cousin to conceal his fraudulent conduct.