Five People Convicted and Sentenced in Fraud against Senior Citizens
INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 9, 2023 - Five people have been convicted and sentenced to prison for their roles in a nationwide fraud scheme that targeted senior citizens. Following a years-long investigation, each defendant pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges. Investigators identified over 68 victims of the defendants’ crimes and identified losses totaling over $683,464.
The federal court imposed the following sentences:
DefendantPrison SentenceDarlens Renard, 31 North Lauderdale, Florida78 monthsJasaun Pope, 30 Valley Stream, New York97 monthsPrincess Elizer, 30 Dallas, Georgia41 monthsJennifer Glemeau, 28 Marietta Georgia30 monthsKareem Brown, 30 North Baldwin, New York36 months
According to court documents, from at least April 2020 and continuing for roughly 11 months, the defendants and other co-conspirators targeted and exploited the elderly and their relationships with their relatives for personal financial gain. Known as a “grandparent scam,” this criminal network exploited elderly Americans’ love for their family members making them believe a close relative was in extreme danger and inducing them to send thousands of dollars to “help.”
The defendants’ role in the scheme was to retrieve, transport, and launder the money the elderly victims were induced to send. The defendants traveled to cities throughout the United States to identify unoccupied houses where overnight packages could be sent and retrieved without detection, and then relay those addresses to their co-conspirators. Those co-conspirators then placed phone calls to seniors in Indiana and around the country claiming that their grandchild or other relative had an urgent legal or medical problem and needed money immediately. The caller, who often claimed to be an attorney, police officer, or other authority figure, told the victim to send an overnight delivery of cash—typically between $5,000 and $15,000—to the address the defendants provided. The defendants tracked the overnight package of cash to the address, picked it up shortly after delivery, and then took their cut of the proceeds before sharing it with their co-conspirators.
For example, according to court documents, one of the victims, age 82, from Crawfordsville, Indiana, was falsely told that her daughter had been in an accident and was in legal trouble because a gun was found in her vehicle. In addition to asking for money urgently, the caller allegedly told the victim that there was a “gag order” in her daughter’s case, to prevent the victim from contacting law enforcement or other family members. Concerned for her daughter’s welfare, the Crawfordsville victim sent a total of $12,500 in cash to the defendants.
Each defendant was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution to the victims for their roles in the scheme, and each was ordered to serve between one and three years of supervised release following their release from prison.
“These defendants and their co-conspirators preyed on the good nature of people. The sentences in this case reinforce the justice system’s intolerance for people who take advantage of others”, said IRS-CI Chicago Field Office Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell. “IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to working with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, local, and international levels to find and prosecute people who scam others out of their hard-earned money.”
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys MaryAnn T. Mindrum and Nicholas J. Linder who prosecuted this case.
The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The best method for prevention, however, is by sharing information about the various types of elder fraud schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors, and other seniors who can use that information to protect themselves.
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