A wire fraud suspect from Freehold is one of four accused by federal authorities of conning two business operators out of more than $800,000 in an advance-fee scam.

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Jerrid Douglas, 43, was charged with wire fraud conspiracy today, along with Harold Mignott, 54, of Voorhees, James Adkins, 64, of Hillside, and Roy Johannes Gillar, 44, of Las Vegas, NV, according to the office of Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick's office.

Douglas, Adkins and Mignott were released on unsecured bonds amounting to $200,000, while Gillar was detained. The conspiracy charges each carry sentences of up to 20 years on conviction, along with fines up to $250,000.

Investigators believe that in early 2016, the four defendants planned to take more than $1,000,000 in the alleged scam. They induced the company operators to enter a joint-venture agreement with a New Jersey-based shell company, authorities said.

The defendants allegedly led the business operators to believe that they would be given a standby letter of credit, backed by Mexican gold bonds. Banks issue standby letters of credit to guarantee payment if a client defaults on a contractual commitment to a third party.

Investigators said that the business operators wanted access to the standby letter of credit to buy raw gold outside the U.S. and sell it to gold refineries, and agreed to pay $1,000,000 for the associated bank fee.

The defendants misled the victims with numerous ruses, according to investigators, including a fabricated missive seeming to be from an international bank, claiming to be willing to provide the standby letter of credit.

The victims wired $800,000, and got no letter of credit, or anything of value, authorities said. The money allegedly paid for luxury cars, high-end time pieces, home mortgage payments and cash withdrawals.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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