The U.S. Justice Department Launches Enormous Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep

U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray have recently announced the biggest organized sweep of elder fraud cases in history, which is even bigger than the nationwide sweep of 2018.

This inclusive sweep involves over 260 defendants from around the globe who allegedly victimized over two million Americans, the majority of them elderly.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken action in every federal district across America, via the filing of criminal or civil cases or through consumer education efforts.

In every case, offenders allegedly took part in financial schemes that purportedly targeted or largely affected seniors. In sum, the alleged charged elder fraud schemes resulted in alleged losses of millions more dollars than the year before, and this puts the total alleged losses of the 2019 sweep at over $750 million.

Attorney General William P. Barr has made the following statement:

Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in our society. But thanks to the hard work of our agents and prosecutors, as well as our state and local partners, the Department of Justice is protecting our seniors from fraud… Today we are announcing the largest single law enforcement action against elder fraud in American history. This year’s sweep involves 13 percent more criminal defendants, 28 percent more in losses, and twice the number of fraud victims as last year’s sweep… Together, we are bringing justice and peace of mind to America’s seniors.

The FBI & the U.S. Attorney’s Office Recently Announced the Western District’s Elder Justice Initiative

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have been working together and recently announced the Western District’s Elder Justice Initiative, a project which aims to combat alleged elder financial exploitation by increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged financial scams that target seniors.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are working to educate older adults on how to understand and identify scams and stop from getting ripped off by scam artists and schemers. Said entities are also promoting greater coordination with law enforcement partners.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI are also partnering with the AARP in North Carolina to conduct outreach and raise awareness through a series of seminars to educate seniors and prevent victimization.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI have made efforts to detail popular fraud schemes which have been targeting seniors:

  • Lottery phone scams – Callers allegedly convince seniors that a large fee or taxes must be paid before they can receive lottery winnings.
  • Grandparent scams – Seniors get a call that their grandchildren are in trouble and need money to make rent, repair a car, or even money for bail.
  • Romance scams – Victims are allegedly lulled to believe that their online paramour needs funds for a U.S. visit or some other purpose.
  • IRS imposter scams –  Victims are allegedly defrauded by posing as IRS agents and claiming that victims owe back taxes.
  • Sham business opportunities – Victims are allegedly lured in to invest in lucrative business opportunities or investments.

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