AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Rockdale woman scammed lottery winner out of $440,000, jury says

Freya D. Pearson said she was a financial adviser, a homeless mother and a consultant to a Georgia probate court.

She now has a new title: thief.

A federal jury on Thursday convicted the Rockdale County resident of scamming a Missouri lottery winner out of $440,000, the Department of Justice announced.

Her 61-year-old victim had been a housekeeper before going on disability, then winning the 2008 Missouri lottery. Pearson posed as a financial advisor and a friend to persuade the woman to cash out an annuity and transfer the money to one of Pearson's accounts.

Amid all that, Pearson moved to Georgia and ended up living in the home of a probate judge and his family, while serving as a consultant to his court, the Kansas City Star reported. 

They got crossways. He tried to evict her for not paying back rent, the Rockdale Citizen reported. She claimed he owed her back wages, tried to have him arrested and sued him. Somehow, her case ended up in DeKalb, where it was reportedly dismissed. 

It wasn't immediately clear Friday whether all the Georgia issues were resolved. But Pearson had bigger worries with the federal charges.

After deliberating two hours Thursday, the federal jury convicted her of three counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, one count of tax evasion, and one count of making false statements to get federal housing assistance. She could be sentenced to up to 100 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.


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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.