Three Sentenced For Defrauding Rhode Island Seniors
Three Sentenced to Federal Prison in “Grandparent Scam” Conspiracy That Defrauded Rhode Island Seniors
PROVIDENCE – Three men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a “grandparent scam” conspiracy that defrauded more than a dozen Rhode Island seniors between the ages of seventy-nine and ninety-four out of more than $300,000, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
At least fourteen Rhode Island seniors were contacted by members of the conspiracy who impersonated family members or attorneys, claiming that a family member, often a grandchild, had been arrested and was in immediate need of cash for bail payments. The victims were directed to gather cash for these fake bail payments and to provide the money to a courier who would be sent to their home.
Bryan Valdez-Espinosa, 22, and Diego A. Alarcon, 22, of Union City, NJ; and Jason Hatcher, 40, of New York, NY, previously admitted to a federal judge that in June 2021, they traveled around Rhode Island posing as the couriers, collecting cash from victims of the scam. The elder victims were defrauded out of a total of $304,081.
In July 2022, Hatcher pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft; Alarcon and Valdez-Espinosa each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
On Friday, Alarcon was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to 30 months of incarceration to be followed by 3 years of federal supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $304,081; Valdez-Espinosa was sentenced by Judge Smith on February 13, 2023, to 30 months of incarceration to be followed by 3 years of federal supervised release, and to pay restitution in the amount of $262,240; Jason Hatcher was sentenced on November 21, 2022, to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of federal supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $304,081.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lee H. Vilker , G. Michael Seaman, and Christine D. Lowell.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.
United States Attorney Cunha thanks the Warwick, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Hopkinton, Cumberland, Coventry, North Kingstown, Barrington, and Smithfield Police Departments for their assistance with the investigation.