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Defendants posed as family members and clergymen to rip off Good-Samaritan victims
"Scams to steal from older West Virginians are downright shameful,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “Protecting our state’s senior citizens is one of my top priorities, and in 2014, we’re going to work harder than ever to catch criminals who cheat seniors.”
According to the indictment, beginning in or about November 7, 2012, and continuing through November 13, 2012, Moise, Ryland and McKay allegedly participated in a scheme to solicit money from 18 elderly individuals who resided in West Virginia and other states. As part of the scheme, numerous elderly individuals were called at their homes and asked for money under false pretenses. It was a part of the scheme that the callers, posing as family members or clergymen of the elderly citizens, or lawyers for the so-called family members or clergymen, often falsely stated that they had been in car accidents, had been arrested for driving while intoxicated, and needed money to get out of jail, pay attorney’s fees, and make reimbursement for the damage allegedly caused by their accidents. The callers then provided specific instructions to wire the requested funds – including how much to wire and where to send the wire transfers. In many instances, the elderly individuals made several wire transfers at the repeated requests of the callers – despite their limited funds. The defendants charged in the indictment picked up the funds from the wire transfers in Maryland and New York. The victims targeted in the alleged scheme ranged in age from 70 to 95 years old.
Ryland and McKay were previously arrested in Maryland in December 2013, and are each scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Dwayne L. Tinsley this week to be arraigned.
Moise is expected to appear before Judge Tinsley on January 23, 2014, for arraignment.
Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Today’s charges are part of U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s work to protect West Virginia’s senior citizens. Over the past few years, Goodwin has visited senior center locations in nearly twenty West Virginia counties to offer tips to protect seniors in their homes and help them avoid financial scams like this one. Additional information regarding this initiative can be found at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/wvs/safe-seniors.htmlNote: The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.