Russell County

Report: Internet romance drives SW Virginia woman to crime

Deborah Lawson admitted to stealing tax refund

Federal court documents show a southwest Virginia woman admitted to stealing a Colorado resident's tax refund to keep funneling thousands to a boyfriend she met on the Internet.

Officials in U.S. District Court in Abingdon said Deborah Diana Lawson, 60, of Raven, Va., waived her indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

A co-conspirator helped Lawson obtain a good portion of the resident's $8,946 tax refund illegally in a wire transfer that came to her Russell County bank account. Lawson turned around and then wired more than $6,000 of that money to an account in Buffalo, NY, the documents said.

Lawson admitted to prosecutors that she was involved in a romantic relationship with a person who identified themselves as David Kush who was reportedly a U.S. Navy sailor stationed off the coast of Nigeria, Africa.

Lawson had been wiring money to Kush over the process of six months using $30,000 of money from her personal savings and retirement fund. Kush had told Lawson in March 2015 that he would be seeing her in nine days but needed more money because his son was set to have surgery.

The wire transfers were made shortly after those conversations, according to court documents.

Lawson is scheduled to be sentenced May 11.


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