U.S. authorities say that their largest ever law enforcement sweep targeting elder fraud uncovered alleged losses of more than US$750 million.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it carried out a record coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases, involving more than 260 defendants who allegedly victimized more than 2 million seniors, purportedly causing hundreds of millions in losses.
Relative to last year, the sweep represents a 13% increase in the number of defendants, double the number of victims and 28% more in alleged losses, the DoJ says.
In particular, the Justice Department says that this year’s sweep included a takedown of tech-support fraud schemes, which involve fraudsters tricking seniors into giving them remote access to their computers under the guise of providing tech support.
“We’re committed to investigating financial fraud schemes against the elderly,” said FBI director, Christopher Wray. “We’ve dedicated additional resources to address a wide range of elder fraud threats, including technical-support fraud. Victims of these schemes often lose thousands of dollars or more apiece, which can cause significant harm to elderly victims and their caretakers.”
The sweep also addressed cross-border criminal organizations that commit elder fraud, the DoJ said. It reports that, during the sweep, defendants in elder fraud cases were extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.