Grandparents trying to rescue loved ones were conned out of thousands of dollars

The first call to an 87-year-old oceanside woman came from someone claiming to be her granddaughter. He needed $ 9,000 for bail after being imprisoned in a car accident.

Next came from a lawyer. He warned his grandmother that the case had a gag order and that talking about it could result in serious penalties.

Then an accident expert called. The pregnant woman beaten in the accident was said to have lost her baby as a result, preventing her granddaughter from being charged with murder for $ 42,000 and spending up to 20 years in prison. A few days later, my grandmother was informed that she and her granddaughter had broken the Gag Order. An additional $ 57,000 was needed to keep the granddaughter out of jail.

According to court documents, the woman paid out $ 108,000 before learning about the legal drama. This was part of a well-established scam that used her grandmother’s love and naivety to enrich the circle of scammers.

She is one of at least 22 elderly victims nationwide, from California to Ohio to New York.Grandparents scam, ”A scam that has existed for over 10 years. Six of the victims live in San Diego County, including Carlsbad, Bonita, Spring Valley, and El Cahon.

Although rarely charged in such cases, last month a grand jury in the United States of America filed a sham charge against eight people in California, Florida, and Arizona. They have been accused of claiming more than $ 770,000 in casualties.

According to court records, the arrest began on August 10 and continues to this day. It was unclear whether the main defendant, Tracy Adrin Knowles of Florida, was arrested.

The FBI’s attention-grabbing grandparents scam in 2008 traditionally involved the targeting of older people selected from social media accounts where victims publicly share details about their grandchildren and other loved ones. .. The scammers then use information such as their nickname and place of residence to create a compelling story.

As shown in the unsealed complaint in San Diego Federal Court, the basic script usually begins with a phone call from a grandchild, best friend, or relative stating any problem, often arrest or car accident.

Past iterations Part of the scheme focuses on allegations that grandchildren are abusing the ignorance of unfamiliar bureaucracy and the fear of detention of foreigners as military personnel who have problems traveling abroad or are serving abroad. I’m guessing.

According to court records, the scam was contained in the United States. In one example, a 75-year-old Paso Robles man was said to have his friend’s son imprisoned in Florida after a gun was found in his car. In another example, an 83-year-old La Quinta woman was told that her grandson had been arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs.

According to the indictment, a prompt cash request to avoid more trouble, often for bail, to pay for the medical costs of the victim of the accident, or to avoid additional penalties. there is. The victim is then ready for another call from a lawyer or other official who would normally be involved and gives instructions on what to do next.

The callers then give instructions on how to transfer money. In this case, the indictment said the victim was told to mail the funds to the address of the rental housing, wire the money, or have the courier pick it up directly.

According to the indictment, investigators receive or control funds and deposit in banks for less than $ 10,000 (also from California and Florida) so as not to provoke federal reporting requirements. ) Has been identified.

To prevent older victims from consulting with other family members about the apparent crisis, they are often said to have a judicial gag order prohibiting them from talking about the case. According to the indictment, a 76-year-old grandfather from Grand Prairie, Texas, was silent in the case after being told that his granddaughter had collided with a car carrying a masked police officer. He said that anything about the case could endanger the lives of police officers.

As Oceanside’s grandmother did, some victims continued to give money to the cause. According to the complaint, another lawyer needed more for civil settlement after a 73-year-old San Francisco grandmother sent a $ 27,000 bail to a man who claimed to be his grandson’s lawyer. My grandmother sent another $ 190,000.

Avoid becoming a victim

— Resist the pressure to act quickly.

— Contact your grandchildren or another family member to determine if the call is legal.

— Do not send money to strangers based on phone or email requests.

— If you are affected, report the crime to your local law enforcement agency and the state consumer protection agency. You can also complete the report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

Source: FBI

Victims were also often instructed to lie to financial institutions about large-scale withdrawals, such as helping friends with funeral expenses or investing in real estate, the complaint said.

According to the indictment, some of the money was later converted to cryptocurrency.

Approximately six months after the scam began, participants learned that the FBI was investigating when a courier was arrested during a collection in Ohio on March 19, 2020. what do you do now? … get rid of the phone? … Leave! now! !! “According to the indictment.

However, the arrest did not stop the fraud, and participants continued to target new victims, the indictment said.

Authorities claim that the plan lasted for about a year from November 2019 to October 2020.

Grandparents trying to rescue loved ones were conned out of thousands of dollars Source link Grandparents trying to rescue loved ones were conned out of thousands of dollars

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