Date: June 12, 2020
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On June 10, 2020, Marilyn Yvette Cook (also known as Marilyn Yvette Powell) of Alcoa, was sentenced by the Honorable Pamela L. Reeves, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. Cook was sentenced to 51 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
On July 31, 2019, following a two-day trial, a jury convicted Cook of presenting a fictitious obligation and submitting a false claim to the United States. At trial, the jury heard testimony that, in October of 2017, Cook attempted to deposit a false "bill of exchange," with a face value of $1 million, to the Regions Bank branch in Alcoa. In support of the "bill of exchange," which had the appearance of a bank check, Cook presented fictitious documents purporting to show that she possessed Treasury bonds worth more than $100 billion. The jury also heard testimony that, in January 2017, Cook filed a fraudulent federal tax return through which she sought a tax refund of more than $251,000. In addition, the jury learned that Cook had been convicted in 2006 for multiple counts of defrauding the United States through false tax returns, using personal information of indigent individuals receiving assistance from Cook's faith-based organization, Sheep Ministries, Inc.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation which led to indictment and subsequent conviction of Cook include the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, and the Alcoa Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Dale, Jr. and Jennifer Kolman represented the United States at trial.