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Massachusetts man admits defrauding senior citizens in scheme

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PROVIDENCE – A Boston man today admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud senior citizens across the country by persuading them to send significant cash payments to various addresses in Rhode Island to secure the release of a relative from jail, purportedly arrested after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Julio Feliciano, 32, admitted that between April and October 2019, members of the conspiracy contacted senior citizens in at least four states, North Carolina, Delaware, Illinois, and Tennessee, and told them that cash payments ranging from $7,000 to $9,500 were required to secure the release of a relative, typically a grandson or nephew, from jail. The claims were not true.

In each instance, a member of the conspiracy, using various fictitious names, instructed a senior citizen to mail packages containing cash to locations in Rhode Island, including private residences, UPS stores, and a pharmacy. Feliciano admitted to the Court that he traveled to the various locations to retrieve the packages.

Feliciano was arrested on November 22, 2019, on a federal criminal complaint as the result of a still on-going investigation by Rhode Island State Police and Homeland Security Investigations.

Appearing today before U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy, Julio Feliciano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina.

Feliciano is scheduled to be sentenced on April 20, 2020.

Conspiracy to commit mail fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the pecuniary value of the gain or loss resulting from the offense, and a term of supervised release of 5 years.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lee H. Vilker.

If you are a victim or know a victim of elder fraud, you can call 1-877-FTC-HELP or go to ftc.gov/complaint. For downloadable Elder Abuse Prevention resources and for information about community outreach programs in Rhode Island, visit the United States Attorney’s Office’s Elder Justice Initiative web page at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ri/elder-justice

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