A man from Connecticut has been charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud after he and others stole approximately $200,000 from elderly individuals, including several in Wisconsin.
26-year-old Matthew Ramos-Soto of Hartford, Connecticut is accused of working with co-conspirators to defraud Wisconsin residents.
The indictment alleges that during a five-day period last October, the group contacted the elderly victims by phone, falsely claiming that a relative had been arrested after an accident and needed bail money.
The group allegedly impersonated attorneys and judges, giving the victims fake file or case numbers, and warned the victims not to speak to anyone about the situation due to a “gag order” in their relative’s court case that could result in their relative facing additional consequences.
Victims were told to withdraw the money in cash from their financial institutions and provide a false reason for the transactions.
Ramos-Soto and his co-conspirators allegedly traveled throughout the state to pick up cash from the individuals they targeted.
According to the indictment, Ramos-Soto and his co-conspirator obtained around $200,000 during the conspiracy.
Three incidents in Wisconsin were referenced:
- $5,000 from an individual in Wrightstown
- $12,500 from an individual in Hobart
- $17,545 from an individual in Fitchburg (Dane County)
“Unfortunately, scams targeting the elderly or vulnerable are proliferating. If someone demands money over the phone or internet, always reach out to a trusted advisor, law enforcement agency, or the fraud hotlines described below,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Timothy O’Shea. “My office is committed to working with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who target vulnerable individuals for financial gain.”
Ramos-Soto is currently in custody in Michigan. No date has been set for his initial appearance in Madison’s U.S. District Court.
If he is convicted, Ramos-Soto faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
“I commend our long list of local and state law enforcement partners in bringing this perpetrator to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael Hensle. “Elder fraud is a serious crime. Many of our senior citizens are targeted by unscrupulous individuals seeking to exploit their vulnerabilities, taking advantage of their trust, and causing significant financial and emotional harm. The FBI will continue to work with our partners and ensure that justice is served.”
Officials are encouraging Wisconsin residents to be aware of financial fraud schemes, particularly ones targeting the elderly, and to talk to your elderly family and friends about common scams.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud or a fraud attempt, report it to authorities.
Source : Fox 11