DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Xenia woman has been sentenced to prison after lying to U.S. Postal Inspectors about a missing teenager to conceal her involvement with a romance scam.
Linda Matson, 61, of Xenia has been sentenced to 2 years in prison after making false statements to a federal agent, according to a release.
On April 29, 2020, U.S. Postal Inspectors found that $50,000 had fallen from a package onto a conveyor belt and later found $50,000 in another package. Both of the packages were found to be addressed to a post office box connected to an alleged romance fraud scheme.
The inspectors reached out to Matson, who acknowledged that she had been scammed by someone claiming to be a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army.
On May 10, 2020, three days after admitting she had been duped in that romance scam, Matson began inducing her relatives to send her money for the fictitious military officer.
In an effort to conceal her continued involvement in the romance fraud scam and to expedite the return of the seized funds, on May 18, 2020, she sent multiple text messages to a postal inspector falsely claiming that she needed the money to buy posters and t-shirts to help find her missing 18-year-old niece.
Matson is said to have also sent links to news articles and Facebook stories about a missing Ohio teenager to deceive the inspector into acting quickly, the release states.
Believing Matson’s statements to be true, relatives gave Matson $590,000 that was to be used to help the fictitious military officer.
However, instead of providing the funds to the United States Customs Service as she promised, Matson mailed the money to post office boxes controlled by the romance scammers.
Matson pleaded guilty in August to a charge of making false statements to a federal agent and admitted she intended to use the money for reasons she was concealing from the postal inspector. She also admitted lying to the inspector and the FBI.