Three men will likely face prison time after pleading guilty to an elaborate scheme targeting seniors known as the “Grandparent Scam.”
On Tuesday, 22-year-old Bryan Valdez-Espinosa, 22-year-old Diego Alarcon, and 40-year-old Jason Hatcher pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple charges related to the devastating con.
According to prosecutors, the men defrauded unsuspecting seniors out of thousands of dollars by impersonating family members or attorneys and telling the victims that a grandchild or other loved one needed money to get out of jail following an arrest. The scammers would then steal anywhere from $9,500 to $85,000 from each victim by telling them to prepare the funds and hand it over to a courier who came to their home. Valdez-Espinosa and Alarcon traveled from Union City, New Jersey, while Hatcher traveled from New York to conduct the scam. In total, 14 people in the Rhode Island area lost a total of $350,815.
“These three took advantage of a grandparent’s love for a grandchild to fleece them of their hard-earned money,” stated Matthew Millhollin, the Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations New England Field Office.
The three men pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Hatcher also pled guilty to a charge of aggravated identity theft. Their sentencing is scheduled for October 11th, 2022.