Florida Men Convicted In “Grandparent Scam”
Two Florida men scammed grandparents out of $400,000 according to authorities. The scheme worked by convincing the elderly targets that they had relatives in jail who needed to make bail. The grandparents would wire the money to the men who they believed were a law firm or a relative. The men targeted elderly individuals in Northern Ohio. They are now facing charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Then men have pleaded guilty to the crimes and are scheduled for sentencing in July.
Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation
In 2017, U.S. Congress passed the Elder Abuse and Prosecution Act. Provisions of the act allowed the federal government to step in and prosecute crimes that specifically targeted the elderly for financial exploitation. The law required the DOJ and the FTC to create an elder justice coordinator position and implement training for FBI agents investigating elder abuse claims. The law also created a resource group to help prosecutors try cases involving elder abuse. In other words, it streamlined the process by which elder abuse fraud was prosecuted.
Provisions under the law allow the DOJ to create a vast resource collecting data on elder abuse scams. This data is then published and can help inform elderly folks of the types of scams that fraudsters are perpetuating. It also coordinates efforts of the states with the federal government to help the states prosecute these crimes. Often, these prosecutions are complex because the elders may not know that they’ve been scammed.
In this case, the fraudsters employed a courier to act as a go-between. This allowed them to prevent the transfer of money from being traceable. The men were caught because they acted as their own couriers in several cases. They also targeted a single area which allowed investigators to coordinate efforts and set up a sting.
A conviction under the federal statute has a maximum sentence of 20 years. Since the federal government uses a point system to determine sentencing, and the men are charged with two crimes related to elder abuse, fraud, and exploitation of a vulnerable population, they could face as many as forty years. Since they have resolved the situation and cooperated with authorities by pleading guilty, their sentences may be reduced. Nonetheless, they will spend a significant portion of their lives in federal prison. Details on sentencing are not available yet. However, sentences are often tied to the amount of money stolen. In this case, it was nearly $400,000, which is a lot. So chances are good that they will spend at least a decade behind bars.
Fight Federal Charges with an Experienced Tampa Attorney
The Tampa criminal lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm represent defendants charged with federal crimes. Call our office today and allow us to begin building your defense immediately.