Sunday, May 16, 2021

Investigators: Man posed as grandkids, stole money from NH elders

By Breanna Edelstein

CONCORD, NH — A New Jersey man faces a long prison sentence after being indicted for his involvement in what investigators called a “grandparent scheme,” in which local elderly residents handed over money after receiving phone calls that their grandkids were in trouble.

Elvis Guzman, 43, of Paterson, New Jersey, has been indicted for targeting New Hampshire residents and traveling around the state to aid in the thefts, investigators said.

Court records show Guzman has been indicted for two felony counts of conspiracy to commit theft by deception, a felony count of theft by deception as principal/accomplice, and another felony for receiving stolen property.

One of the indictments says that in 2020, Guzman conspired with other people to steal cash from 11 elderly victims across the state, including in Londonderry and Hampstead.

Guzman and others allegedly called victims and falsely stated that their grandchildren were arrested, or posed as the grandchildren and said they were under a “gag order” prohibiting them from sharing any details about the arrest.

Guzman and his co-conspirators are accused of stealing more than $100,000 from New Hampshire victims over a four-day span.

Records show that Guzman was arrested by Londonderry police on Nov. 6, 2020, after taking cash from a victim there.

The maximum penalty on each charge Guzman faces is 7 ½ to 15 years in New Hampshire state prison and a $4,000 fine. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Rockingham Superior Court on May 25.

Investigator Calice Couchman-Ducey of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau investigated the case with help from the New Hampshire State Police and police departments in the following communities: Londonderry, Keene, Concord, Newfields, Manchester, Hampstead, Newington, Franconia, Epping and Nashua.

The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security also provided assistance.

Assistant Attorney General Bryan Townsend II of the Attorney General's Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit is prosecuting the case.

Anyone who knows about the victimization of elders, including abuse or financial exploitation, is encouraged to contact local police or the Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at 1-800-949-0470.

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