Savannah woman sentenced for assisting in scheme that stole millions of dollars from victims’ retirement accounts

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SAVANNAH, GA: A Savannah woman has been sentenced after admitting she “structured” cash withdrawals, which were part of a scheme to steal millions of dollars from other people’s retirement accounts.

Karen Dickerson, 52, of Savannah, was sentenced in U.S. District court to 51 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to Structuring to Evade Currency Transaction Reports, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Dickerson also forfeited ownership of five bank accounts with deposits totaling $195,815.73, was ordered to pay $644,915.15 in restitution, and must serve three years of supervised release after completion of her prison sentence.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Karen Dickerson’s decades-long criminal record makes it abundantly clear that she is an unrepentant thief with zero regard for her victims,” said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “She sank to a new low with these crimes, and hopefully this sentence will give her ample time to reflect on her behavior while protecting the community from her greed.”


As described in court documents and testimony, other individuals gained access to victims’ retirement funds and transferred nearly $3 million into various bank accounts, including one Dickerson controlled. From at least June 2018 to November 2018, Dickerson knew she was helping launder ill-gotten proceeds when she made 22 withdrawals totaling $213,745 from her bank accounts. Most of the withdrawals were in amounts less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reports. After Dickerson handed over a predetermined amount of cash, she kept the remaining amount of transferred funds as payment.

“People work hard and save for retirement to enjoy later on in life,” said Special Agent in charge Steven Baisel, U.S. Secret Service Atlanta Field Office. “Criminals like Karen Dickerson, who help those who prey on these victims, will be caught and brought to justice.”

The case remains under investigation.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service in coordination with Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier Cunningham, Section Chief of the Asset Recovery Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven H. Lee and John P. Harper III. 

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: disaster@leo.gov

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