ATTORNEY'S OFFICE OF WEST VIRGINIA: The Northern District of West Virginia takes part in largest-ever nationwide elder fraud sweep

By Press release submission | Mar 11, 2019

U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Northern West Virginia issued the following announcement on March 7.

Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history, surpassing last year’s nationwide sweep. The cases during this sweep involved more than 260 defendants from around the globe who victimized more than two million Americans, most of them elderly.

“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “But thanks to the hard work of our agents and prosecutors, as well as our state and local partners, the Department of Justice is protecting our seniors from fraud. The Trump administration has placed a renewed focus on prosecuting those who prey on the elderly, and the results of sweep make that clear. We are announcing the largest single law enforcement action against elder fraud in American history. This year’s sweep involves 13 percent more criminal defendants, 28 percent more in losses, and twice the number of fraud victims as last year’s sweep. I want to thank the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, which led this effort, together with the Department’s Criminal Division, the more than 50 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and the state and local partners who helped to make these results possible. Together, we are bringing justice and peace of mind to America's seniors.”

“Crimes against the elderly are particularly heinous as they often involve taking advantage of already vulnerable people. The crimes are often compounded when the elderly victims are reluctant to report them. We encourage the reporting of these crimes so they can be fully investigated and aggressively prosecuted,” said Powell.

In the Northern District of West Virginia, there were several cases involving elder fraud, including the case of Karen Kinsley, a former bank branch manager, who pled guilty in September 2018 to bank fraud, admitted to taking out loans in customers’ names and reopening customers’ savings and checking accounts without the customers’ consent. She is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

The Department took action in every federal district across the country, through the filing of criminal or civil cases or through consumer education efforts. In each case, offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors. In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused alleged losses of millions of more dollars than last year, putting the total alleged losses at this year’s sweep at over three fourths of one billion dollars.

Original source can be found here.

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