Crime

Fraud trial delayed for woman who also faces murder trial

E. Raine
E. Raine

GULFPORT -- The fraud trial has been delayed for a woman who also faces trial on a murder charge in the killing of one of her three husbands.

Former income tax preparer and alleged "serial husband killer" Emma Jean Raine, 51, of Poplarville, was set for trial in the fraud case on a U.S. District Court calendar that starts Jan. 4. A 35-count indictment alleges she defrauded the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, failed to report life insurance proceeds and business income, and filed false tax returns for her clients in Poplarville and Gulfport.

She also faces trial in New Orleans in March on charges alleging she orchestrated her husband's fatal shooting in 2006 with her then-boyfriend. Those charges are first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy.

Her attorney in the fraud case has asked for more time to prepare for Raine's defense. Judge Sul Ozerden has moved the trial to a court calendar that starts Feb. 29.

The fraud indictment alleges Raine filed false tax returns for the tax years of 2008 through 2010. Her electronic-filing identification number was revoked April 5, 2011, but she changed her business name and continued to file tax returns, the charging document said.

She also is accused of making false statements in her bankruptcy case in 2009 and 2010.

Called 'black widow'

In the Louisiana murder case, Orleans Parish prosecutors have described Raine as a "serial husband killer" and "black widow" who plotted to kill three husbands and collected on their life insurance, according to The Advocate newspaper.

Her first husband, Leroy Evans, died in 1994 about a year after he was hit by a car in Vicksburg. A detective has testified Evans choked to death after his feeding tube was "mysteriously" removed.

Raine later married Ernest Smith, 37, a veteran and minister. He was shot to death outside the couple's home in New Orleans in April 2006. The Advocate has reported prosecutors have said Emma Raine, then Emma Smith, and her then-boyfriend, James Raine, plotted to kill Smith.

She later married James Raine.

She and Raine reportedly used proceeds from a life insurance policy on Smith to build a home in Pearl River County.

Bankruptcy, insurance

Bankruptcy records show Emma and James Raine filed for bankruptcy in 2009. She allegedly increased his life insurance benefit from $100,000 to $800,000 two months before he was fatally shot. The insurance company and her bankruptcy trustee later questioned the payout. Court papers allege Emma Raine received half the payout but didn't report it.

James Raine was shot to death in the couple's home in October 2011.

Emma Raine has not been charged in the deaths of her first or third husbands.

An Orleans Parish jury, in December 2014, found Alfred "Terry" Everette, 31, guilty of second-degree murder in Smith's death. His relatives testified he'd told them he shot Smith and tossed the gun in Lake Pontchartrain, The Advocate reported. Emma Raine allegedly offered to pay Everette for the hit.

Everette's sentencing is set for Jan. 5. The mandatory penalty is life in prison.

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