Jay Mann admits he scammed millions out of Dillingham victims

Jul 13, 2017

Mann, 55, of Puyallup, WA, pleaded guilty to all 19 counts in Anchorage federal court Wednesday. He remains free on bail, but faces up to 20 years in prison after he is sentenced in December.

For several years, Jay Mann of Puyallup, WA, was living the high life off the money he scammed daily off more than a dozen victims, mainly in Dillingham.

Floyd Jay Mann, a 55-year-old from Puyallup, Washington, pleaded guilty Wednesday to all counts against him in the case of a massive scam of money out of more than a dozen people, mostly from Dillingham. Despite several requests by the federal prosecutor that he be remanded to custody, Mann is likely to remain free on bail till his sentencing in December.

Audio Transcript: Aunnie Steward is the assistant US attorney in Anchorage who, along with a counterpart in Washington, has brought Jay and Cheryl Mann to justice.

“On Friday his wife was sentenced on Social Security fraud in Seattle, and today [Wednesday] Floyd Jay Mann pled guilty to 19 counts of wire fraud and money laundering in district court here in Anchorage,” she said after the hearing.

The case against Mann was pieced together by the FBI, IRS, Social Security Administration, and even local Dillingham Police. Over the course of several years, Mann was able to convince a small group of people that their money being sent to him would soon reap huge rewards when the fictitious lawsuit he cooked up would be settled.

“He falsely told his victims that he had a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical lawsuit coming his way, and if they helped him pay his medical bills and get healthy, then he would share the proceeds from that settlement with them. There was no settlement, and he took their money and spent it at a casino and also on his narcotic, drug addiction habit.”

Jay and Cheryl Mann pulled slots at the Emerald Queen Casino night after night for four years, racking up at least one million dollars in winnings as they gambled away $3 million of money he scammed out of his victims.

In the government's filings, a list of what the victims ("V") are owed in restitution after being scammed for years by Jay Mann.

Mann connected to Dillingham through two of his earliest victims, John and Clara "Tookie" Wren, longtime Dillingham residents who had moved to Puyallup. The brother and sister forked over at least $100,000, missed their own mortgage payments and lost their house. John Wren actually had cancer, unlike his neighbor Jay Mann, and the prosecutor believes Wren stopped paying for his own treatments and died.

Friends in Dillingham the Wrens connected to Jay Mann lost enormous sums of money between 2012 and 2016. Some lost their homes, businesses, property and jobs, all believing they were days away from collecting millions alongside Jay Mann.

Steward offered no deal and Mann pleaded to all counts. He now faces a maximum of 20 years.

“He is definitely looking at a sentence that will include incarceration, and there is always hope for restitution as long as he is able to work," she said.

Mann told the court he has been doing some roofing, which would also seem to contradict his own years and years of collecting welfare benefits for an alleged disability that prevented him from working. Still, there is little hope that he’ll be able to pay back the millions he took from his victims and gambled away while he and his wife briefly lived the high life in Puyallup.

Cheryl Mann defrauded the Social Security Administration out of $81,000. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton sentenced her to three years of probation rather than the at least four months in jail the U.S. attorney had recommended.

Jay Mann was released on bail almost immediately after he was indicted on the 19 federal charges last fall. Steward spent hours Wednesday arguing that Mann begin his sentence immediately, citing his repeated violations of release conditions and the angst from the victims that their perpetrator is still a free man.

It’s not the first time she’s asked.

“I have sought remand on several occasions, most recently today following his entry of guilty pleas. The court has allowed him to remain on release pending his sentencing on December 11.”

Magistrate Deborah Smith in Anchorage made that ruling, to let Jay Mann stay out of custody after he pleaded to all 19 counts involved with scamming $3 million dollars out of some 15 victims. The court, courtesy of the US taxpayer, then footed the bill to fly Mann back to his Puyallup home, where neighbors say Jay and Cheryl Mann's life goes on as usual. 

Reach the author dave@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.

In a court filing, Mann's probation officer strongly recommends he be remanded to custody, something the federal judges involved in this case have yet to agree with.