Monica Ruiz, 44, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was charged with wire fraud. It is unclear if she has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the indictment, the woman from Louisiana is accused of using a variety of lies and promises to defraud an elderly victim from Bullard, Texas. She reportedly told the victim a number of falsehoods, including that she had been in a coma, she was falsely arrested and imprisoned, she had brain surgery, she had bribed a judge and prosecutor, she was in a car accident, her son had died in a car crash in Pennsylvania, she had a kidney transplant; her daughter was committed to a mental institution, her grandmother died, and she was incarcerated.
The indictment claims the accused would sometimes impersonate other people or create and use fake personas when she spoke to the victim. As a result of the alleged scheme, she was able to obtain approximately $4.8 million from the victim, sources indicate.
Another case of alleged elder fraud was reported in Ohio in early November. Johnny Lee Palmer, 25, and John Tyler Pla, 25, both of Tampa, FL, were indicted for their alleged involvement in a so-called “grandparent scam.” Both men were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. The press did not name attorneys for them.
According to the indictment, both defendants orchestrated a “grandparent scam” on elderly victims in Northeast Ohio. The scam is a con where the scammer calls an elderly victim and claims to be a relative, such as a grandson or an attorney representing a relative, and informs the victim that he or she has been arrested and needs bail money.
The two are believed to have victimized at least 10 seniors in Northeast Ohio. In total, the indictment estimates that the victims suffered a cumulative loss of $383,932.
The Department of Justice has handled hundreds of criminal and civil cases targeting seniors since soon-to-be former President Trump signed the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law in October 2017. The bill’s purpose is to increase federal oversight on cases of elder abuse and exploitation.
The law’s impact was seen in March 2020, when the Justice Department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement in U.S. history, charging more than 400 individuals in a nationwide sweep. Anyone who knows a senior citizen who has been the victim of financial fraud is encouraged to call the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11.
Elder fraud is a serious crime with stiff penalties. If you are suspected of committing this type of fraud in South Florida, then you should immediately consult an experienced fraud defense attorney. A good attorney can advise you on the next steps to take to protect your rights.
South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney