U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Tennessee
(901) 544-4231
October 31, 2014

U.S. Attorney Announces Hardin County Woman Indicted for Mail and Wire Fraud

MEMPHIS, TN—Edward L. Stanton III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced today that Martha Marie Bizzell, age 42, of Crump, Tennessee was indicted earlier this week by a federal grand jury sitting in the Western District of Tennessee on charges of mail and wire fraud.

According to the 17-count indictment, Martha Bizzell was appointed as guardian of a husband and wife who were disabled adults in Peoria County, Illinois. The couple needed the services of a guardian to ensure their physical and financial security and well-being.

The indictment alleges that after being appointed as guardian, Bizzell relocated the couple to the Western District of Tennessee and took over management of their finances. The couple’s estate was then worth approximately $1.5 million. Assets were in the form of stock, real estate, and cash, and included Certificates of Deposit valued at approximately $118,120; an investment account valued at approximately $638,098; Caterpillar stock valued at approximately $585,000 and 52 rental properties located in Illinois.

Bizzell allegedly ordered the sale of the Caterpillar stock, disposed of the couple’s real estate holdings, and withdrew money from investment and savings accounts. The proceeds were then deposited into Bizzell’s bank accounts. From between November 10, 2011 through July 30, 2012, Bizzell took into her personal possession approximately $1,082,342 in funds belonging to the disabled couple.

Bizzell has been charged with three counts of mail fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud. If convicted she faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Jackson Resident Agency. This case is being prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorney Debra Ireland.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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