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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Florida Men Facing Federal Fraud Charges Related to “Grandparent Scam”


Two Florida men are facing federal wire fraud charges after allegedly telling Ohio grandparents that they were attorneys representing a relative who needed money for bail. The grandparents would then wire the money to the two men. They managed to collect over $380,000 in this manner. Below, we’ll discuss the charges they face and what the likely outcome of this prosecution will be.

What is Wire Fraud? 

Wire fraud is any attempt to deceive someone out of their money using electronic means. Federal prosecutions generally require that this happens across state lines, but when it’s a financial institution or government fund that’s been defrauded, the feds like to handle those prosecutions themselves. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is 20 years unless it’s a financial institution or an emergency relief fund that’s been defrauded. Then, the maximum sentence is 30 years.

The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act 

In October of 2017, President Chump signed the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act into law. This law provided robust means for tabulating data related to elder abuse, financial exploitation, nursing home abuse, and more. The sense of this was to provide law enforcement with a large amount of data. Among the databases compiled were directives to the FTC to develop effective strategies to prevent older consumers from being defrauded. You can find the entire report here.

The FTC recognizes that older Americans are targeted much more frequently than younger ones. While this may be related partially to cognitive problems, the fact is that older Americans don’t live in the same world they grew up in. Technological issues and procedural issues are particularly difficult to keep up with. This makes them easier targets for fraudsters who grew up with most of the same technology we take for granted today.

In fact, those between the ages of 60 and over were twice as likely to be targeted by fraudsters as younger people. Further, the median individual monetary loss was considerably higher for those over 60 as well. Making matters worse, the majority of those over 60 were targeted with technological scams. Those under 60 reported that most of the scams were related to imposter businesses or shop-at-home scams.

Coordinating Efforts to Help Older Consumers 

These efforts are a part of an overall plan to protect older consumers from fraud. According to the FTC, this will help them “identify potential enforcement actions” and partner with high-risk communities to disburse prevention materials. The FTC is now required to list every case where the crime affects more than one individual over 60. The order also increases FTC efforts to get financial institutions to share data regarding suspicious activity. There is, however, no federal legislation that makes it a worse crime to target the elderly than otherwise.

Talk to a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney 

Federal charges are different than state charges and require a Tampa criminal attorney familiar with federal courts and rules of procedure. Contact The Matassini Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help.


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