By Alan Caldwell
Camden, N.J. – Elderly individuals have become the unfortunate targets of a rising trend in fraudulent schemes, as exemplified by the recent case of Victoria Crosby. U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today that Crosby, a resident of Atlantic City, New Jersey, admitted to engaging in wire fraud and defrauding elderly victims of over $100,000. The scheme involved exploiting vulnerable individuals who had recently lost their spouses or family members.
Using a prepaid cellular phone, Crosby would contact these grieving victims, posing as an employee from a retirement benefit office or a life insurance company. Taking advantage of their vulnerable state, Crosby would inform them that their deceased family member’s life insurance policy was in arrears. To rectify this, victims were coerced into purchasing prepaid cards, providing Crosby with the 10-digit codes on the back.
Once Crosby had access to the codes, she swiftly transferred the funds from the victims’ prepaid card accounts to her own. Furthermore, she withdrew the ill-gotten money from various ATMs across Atlantic City and neighboring areas. This calculated scheme allowed Crosby to fraudulently accumulate $110,380 into her bank account between January and December 2020.
This distressing case took an even more disheartening turn, as it was revealed that Crosby was receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits from the Social Security Administration, Medicaid Benefits, and living in public housing in Atlantic City with housing assistance through HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Program. Had agencies such as the SSA or HUD been aware of her income, Crosby would have been rendered ineligible for these government assistance programs.
The consequences of such fraudulent activities are severe. Crosby now faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for March 28, 2024.
This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding our elderly population from financial exploitation. It highlights the need for increased awareness, vigilance, and protective measures in place to prevent individuals like Crosby from targeting our most vulnerable citizens.
- What is wire fraud?
- How can I protect myself or a loved one from falling victim to similar schemes?
- What should I do if I suspect someone is being targeted by a fraudster?
Wire fraud refers to any fraudulent scheme that involves electronic communication, such as phone calls or emails, to deceive victims and manipulate financial transactions.
Some measures to protect against fraud include being cautious when sharing personal information, verifying the legitimacy of any unexpected requests for funds or sensitive information, and staying informed about common types of scams targeting the elderly.
If you suspect someone is being targeted, it is important to report it to local law enforcement and relevant authorities, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the local branch of the Social Security Administration.
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Elderly Victims Defrauded of Over $100,000 in Wire Fraud Scheme: A Disturbing Trend