LINCOLN — Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell, the main persons of interest in the death of Lincoln resident Sydney Loofe, both entered guilty pleas Tuesday to unrelated federal charges of defrauding a Kansas couple out of $375,000.
Trail, 51, and Boswell, 24, had been scheduled to stand trial Tuesday on 14 counts of transporting stolen goods across state lines.
The pair, who last lived in Wilber, Nebraska, persuaded a couple from Hiawatha, Kansas, to give them $375,646 in cash and gold coins and bars in several increments from Dec. 3, 2015, to Nov. 7, 2017. The money, they said, was to facilitate the purchase of a gold coin that Trail had grossly overvalued.
As part of the scheme, Trail provided a false name, “Alan Russell,” to the couple, and Boswell portrayed herself as a broker, setting up false documents and websites to make the sale appear legitimate. They said the money and gold was needed to pay for travel expenses and grading of the coin, and for contracts and commissions. The Kansas couple either brought the money to them in Nebraska, or Trail and Boswell drove to Kansas to obtain it.
Trail and Boswell pleaded guilty to one of the 14 counts as part of a deal with prosecutors. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Zwart also told Trail that it was likely that he would be required to pay restitution to the victims of their scheme.
Trail and Boswell are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 3.
Meanwhile, an FBI spokesman said Tuesday that the nearly 6-month-long investigation into the death of Loofe, who worked at a Lincoln Menards store, was ongoing.
Loofe, 23, disappeared in November after going on a date with Boswell that was set up via the dating app Tinder. Her body was found Dec. 4 in a farming area north of Edgar, in south-central Nebraska.
Trail has told reporters in telephone calls that he suffocated Loofe but claimed that her death was not intentional. He once told The World-Herald that he and a couple of women who traveled with him regularly participated in sexual fantasies, and they had a special room for such role-playing.
Trail has a criminal record that includes two stints in Nebraska prisons for forgery and passing bad checks in Pierce and Dawson Counties. Boswell, who grew up in Leon, Iowa, has only a couple of minor offenses on her record.