By Kathy Jefcoats
ATLANTA — An Ellenwood man was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison for his role in a "work from home" scam that bilked workers who could sorely afford to lose the money, said authorities.
Detrick Mattox, 33, and Jasmine Hudson, 30, were indicted in August for conspiracy and 12 separate mail fraud counts, said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. Mattox pleaded guilty March 18.
According to Clayton County court records, Mattox was convicted in April 2012 in Superior Court on a driving under the influence charge. Seven other counts, including obstruction of an officer and possession and discharge of firearms, were dropped.
Mattox was sentenced Wednesday to two years and nine months in federal prison to be followed by three years on supervised release, said Yates.
"This scheme was designed for one simple purpose — to swindle people out of their hard-earned money through lies and deceit,” she said. “Mattox preyed on folks just trying to earn a living. Now he’s going to prison.”
Prosecutors allege that Mattox and Hudson claimed members who signed up and paid an initiation fee would receive materials that allowed them to work and earn up to $5,000 a week from their homes.
"More specifically, the members were supposed to assemble the materials into booklets and mail the booklets to the addresses provided by Mattox and Hudson," Yates said. "Mattox and Hudson also claimed that members could earn up to $20 for each booklet that the members assembled and mailed."
The pair allegedly collected $50-$500 as an initiation fee from each member, said Yates. Most members never got the materials as promised and those who did were never paid for their services, she said.
"After Mattox’s and Hudson’s businesses received a member's initiation fee, virtually all attempts by the member to contact the work-from-home businesses were ignored," said Yates. "Finally, to avoid consumer complaints and negative public information, Mattox and Hudson frequently changed the names, websites and contact information of the work-from-home businesses."
According to a search warrant affidavit, more than 200 people responded to the pair's advertisements and became members, said Yates.