PROVIDENCE – A New York man was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison for his participation in a conspiracy that defrauded more than a dozen Rhode Island seniors who unknowingly fell victim to a so-called “grandparent scam,” announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Fourteen known victims, who ranged from seventy-nine to ninety-four years of age, were contacted by telephone by callers impersonating family members or attorneys. These callers falsely told the victims that a loved one, generally a grandchild, had been arrested after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, and needed cash bail. The victims were directed to gather cash for these fake bail payments and told to provide the money to a courier who would be sent to their home. Different members of the conspiracy played various roles to carry out the scam; Hatcher travelled around Rhode Island and met face-to-face with many of the victims to collect the cash payments.
Rhode Island victims were scammed out of approximately $394,033.
Jason Hatcher, 40, of New York, NY pleaded guilty on July 5, 2020, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to thirty-three months in federal prison to be followed by three years of federal supervised release. Hatcher was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $394,033.
Two co-defendants in this matter, Bryan Valdez-Espinosa, 22, and Diego A. Alarcon, 22, of Union City, NJ, pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are awaiting sentencing in U.S. District Court in Providence.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys G. Michael Seaman, Christine D. Lowell, and Lee H. Vilker.