California guy gets 46 months for grandparent fraud

A California man who took part in a significant “grandparent scam” has been given a 46-month jail term today.

Court filings claim that Jack Owuor, 25, of Paramount, California, was a member of a network of people who, via extortion and fraud, coerced elderly Americans throughout the country into paying up to tens of thousands of dollars apiece to allegedly support their grandchild or another relative.

 

Owuor entered a guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act on March 9, 2022.

Members of the network telephoned elderly Americans while posing as the victim’s grandson, another close family, or a friend.

 

They misled the victims into believing that their family members or friends were in problems with the law and need money to cover bail, cover the costs of automobile accident victims’ medical bills, or stop the filing of new charges.

 

After receiving money from victims through a variety of channels, including as in-person pickup, mail, and wire transfer, the defendants and their accomplices laundered the funds, including by using cryptocurrencies.

 

Owuor personally collected monies from several victims. Owuor not only led the plot but also recruited other participants.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said, “The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch will continue to pursue and prosecute groups that target elderly and vulnerable Americans through extortion, fraud, and impersonating their loved ones.”

 

“We are appreciative to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and our colleagues at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California for their work in advancing the department’s efforts against organised elder fraud.”

According to U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman for the Southern District of California, “today’s punishment, including jail time, reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s reprehensible actions to steal from the seniors of our society.”

 

It is abhorrent that these scam artists took advantage of a grandparent’s affection and concern for their loved ones in order to enrich themselves. Protecting victims and spreading the message that crime doesn’t pay is made possible by this crucial initiative to bring these shady wrongdoers to justice.

According to Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office, “Owuor and the criminal operation he was a part of preyed upon our older population, robbing some of our most vulnerable and often most trusting residents.”

 

The sentence handed down today shows the efficacy of San Diego’s Elder Justice Task Force and the offenders we can catch when collaborating with our regional, state, and federal law enforcement allies that make up this collaborative team.

 

The task force will continue to vigorously investigate individuals who run these criminal businesses and seek justice for the elderly victims they aim to abuse. This unified approach is crucial to combating elder fraud.

The San Diego Field Office, North County Resident Agency of the FBI investigated the case with significant help from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office’s detectives.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Lauren M. Elfner and Wei Xiang from the Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Oleksandra Johnson from the Southern District of California.

The department’s large and comprehensive anti-elder fraud operations are intended to stop the enormous losses elders suffer as a result of fraud schemes.

 

Sharing knowledge about the many elder fraud schemes with family members, friends, neighbours, and other seniors who can utilise that information to protect themselves is the greatest strategy for prevention, however.

The National Elder Fraud Hotline, 1-833-FRAUD-11, offers assistance to anybody 60 years of age or over who has fallen victim to financial fraud (1-833-372-8311).

 

The Office for Victims of Crime, which manages this Department of Justice hotline, staffs it with knowledgeable individuals who provide callers individualised care by determining the victim’s requirements and appropriate next actions.

 

On a case-by-case basis, case managers will identify the proper reporting agencies, provide callers information to aid in reporting, put callers in direct contact with the proper authorities, and offer resources and recommendations.

 

The first step is to report. Reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as feasible will raise the possibility of recovering damages, and reporting can assist authorities catch fraudsters.

 

Seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET, there is someone on duty at the hotline. There is a choice of languages, including English and Spanish.

Visit www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch for more details on the Consumer Protection Branch’s enforcement initiatives. Visit www.justice.gov/elderjustice for more on the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative.

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