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Three charged in the Northern District of Iowa in extensive elder fraud operation; nationwide hotline launched

This news story was published on March 6, 2020.
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Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – Peter E. Deegan, United States Attorney in the Northern District of Iowa, joined Attorney General William P. Barr, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, and Chief Postal Inspector Gary R. Barksdale this week in announcing the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history. This year, prosecutors charged more than 400 defendants, far surpassing the 260 defendants charged in cases as part of last year’s sweep. In each case, offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors. In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused alleged losses of over a billion dollars.

In the Northern District of Iowa, three defendants were charged with elder financial abuse crimes in 2019:

1. In United States v. Garrett, the defendant pled guilty to using various financial accounts belonging to his grandmother to pay for his own business and personal expenses. Garrett took over $100,000 from his grandmother. He is awaiting sentencing.

2. In United States v. Derby, H. David Derby and Patti Lynn Derby each pled guilty to one count of wire fraud arising out of a scheme to defraud H. David Derby’s elderly mother. They admitted using a financial power of attorney to benefit themselves, obtaining no less than $40,000 from the victim’s bank account. Both are awaiting sentencing.

“Americans are fed up with the constant barrage of scams that maliciously target the elderly and other vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “This year, the Department of Justice prosecuted more than 400 defendants, whose schemes totaled more than a billion dollars. I want to thank the men and women of the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, which coordinated this effort, and all those in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Criminal Division who worked tirelessly to bring these cases. The Department is committed to stopping the full range of criminal activities that exploit America’s seniors.”

“Those who shamelessly target the elderly in our society are reprehensible,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “My office is dedicated to prosecuting these criminals, preventing them from continuing to exploit others, and returning as much money as possible to their victims.”

Attorney General Barr also announced the launch of a National Elder Fraud Hotline, which will provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. The Hotline will be staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers. Case managers will assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed. When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller. The Hotline’s toll free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).

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