By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Woman suing probate judge federally indicted, accused of stealing from lotto winner
Placeholder Image

The woman seeking to sue Probate Judge Charles K. Mays, Sr. for $20,000 in alleged unpaid backpay was herself federally indicted on nine counts in Missouri recently for allegedly stealing $480,000 from a lotto winner.

Freya Pearson, 41, has three counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, one count of tax evasion and one count of making false statements being brought against in the Western District of Missouri for incidents that took place over a four year span, beginning in 2010, and cost local and federal governments and a 65-year-old woman to lose a combined total of $640,667.

Pearson was indicted in the U.S. District court for the Western District of Missouri on Tuesday, Oct. 28. She bonded out on a $10,000 unsecured bond and entered a not guilty plea at her first appearance. She was back in Rockdale on Wednesday, Nov. 5, for a disposessory case hearing in Magistrate Court against her, which was dismissed at the last minute.

Pearson's attorney Mike Waldrop, who is representing her in the case against Mays, said Wednesday he was aware of her federal indictment. "I've been in communication briefly with an attorney" in Missouri, he said. Waldrop is not representing Pearson in the Missouri case. It was his understanding that Pearson had borrowed money from the victim and had been unable to pay it back, he said.

"I'm sure they're glad to find out and muddy the waters," said Waldrop, referring to Mays' party. "But the case there has nothing to do with whether the good judge violated the law."

Waldrop pointed out several of the accusations against Mays, including theft - for spending money establishing a veteran's or mental health court after Mays had been advised of its legal impossibility under a Probate Court judge - and forgery - on a document Mays submitted to Rockdale Water Resources to reduce his overdue water bill - did not depend on Pearson.

When asked Wednesday about the indictment, Pearson declined to comment and referred questions to Waldrop.

Mays also declined to comment Wednesday on Pearson's indictment and referred questions to his attorney Gary Washington. Washington said he is acting in an advisory role, since no official charges have been pressed. He declined to comment but added, regarding Pearson's indictment, "As a legal matter, there's been no conviction. But where there's smoke, there's fire."

According to an article in the Kansas City Star, Pearson met the victim, Marva Wilson, who was described as financially unsophisticated, in 2010. Wilson, then had won $2 million in the lottery in 2008. Pearson convinced Wilson to withdraw money from an annuity that had been set up for Wilson and give it to a nonprofit Pearson had set up called Recidivism At Work, Inc.

Wilson told KSHB Channel 41 Action News in Kansas City, "They said that I signed some papers. I didn't know what the hell I signed. What I signed was a way for my money to be gone."

"I didn't know it," said the 65-year-old, weeping.

""One time I called her, and she was getting ready to board the plane to the Bahamas," Wilson said to KSHB. "She was a smart, slick, lying, educated crook."

Pearson is facing up to 40 years in federal prison if convicted of all the charges.

Pearson has a history of evictions, garnishments and other civil cases against her in Missouri stretching back at least to 1997.


Lotto winner

The 65-year-old female victim in this case won approximately $2 million in the Missouri lottery in 2008. She would meet Pearson two years later in January 2010.

According to the indictment records, in the spring of 2010, Pearson allegedly convinced the victim to transfer a total of $480,000 into a checking account setup for a nonprofit organization, Recidivism at Work, Pearson founded.

When questioned by law enforcement about the transfer, Pearson allegedly stated the money was an investment and the total supplied from the victim was only $200,000. She also allegedly claimed to have used the money strictly for business purposes.

However, according to the indictment, Pearson allegedly used the money to gamble, travel, buy cars, clothes and furniture and pay rent while she lived in the St. Louis metropolitan area while there is a lack of evidence to suggest any of the money was used for the nonprofit.

In 2013, Pearson produced a loan agreement where the victim allegedly agreed to lend Pearson $420,000 and Pearson would repay the victim the full amount loaned in three years.

However, this never happened and after making payments totaling $38,170, allegedly using Wilson's own money, Pearson stopped making payments in August of 2011 and still owes the victim $441,830.


Tax evader

In May 2010, Pearson setup a second bank account for RAW, which was allegedly used to only receive transfers from the first RAW checking account that held the money from the victim.

Pearson filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in December 2010, allegedly under the guise that she had only $1,770 in assets, $91,883 in unsecured debt and no job. Pearson allegedly didn't disclose either of the RAW bank accounts which had a combined balance of $56,506 at the time.

Pearson also neglected to disclose any of the debt she allegedly owed to the victim.

She received a discharge of her debts, worth $122,000 in March 2011.



In March 2010, Pearson allegedly applied for federal housing benefits, specifically the Section 8 tenant voucher housing program. Later that month, she was admitted into the program.

Pearson continued to receive benefits for a rental home in Kansas City, Missouri, while living in St. Louis, Missouri through March 2012. Later that month she was approved for transfers of benefits to Orange County, California, although her benefits were still paid by the Western Housing Authority.

Pearson received federal housing benefits from the Weston Housing Authority from April 2010 through April of this year totaling $76,837.