BALTIMORE — Two Florida residents and a 21-year-old from Baltimore have been federally indicted for their part in what prosecutors are calling a grandparent scheme.
Medard Ulysse, 37, of Miami, Florida, Eghosasere Avboraye-Igbinedion, 26, of Miramar, Florida, and Amaya English, of Baltimore, allegedly defrauded more than 70 elderly victims of more than $1.5 million, between January 2018 and November 2019.
The scam targeted elderly victims over the phone, extorting money by falsely claiming their grandchild had been arrested and needed to meet bail.
Usually they would impostor a police officer, lawyer, or even sometimes a family member of the victim.
They normally would convince the victims to send cash overnight to a particular address.
To prevent the victims from sharing the information with anyone, the accused scammers told the victims that a “gag order” had been placed on the case requiring secrecy, or that the grandchild was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone else to know about it.
Court documents allege Ulysse recruited people in Florida to participate in the scam, promising them travel and cash payments.
Ulysse allegedly directed them to travel from Florida to Maryland and other states to seek out residential locations where victims could send the cash.
The locations would often be vacant or for sale, so the suspects could pick up the money with no one else there to see.
Avboraye-Ibginedion and English were allegedly among those assigned by Ulysse to pick up the money and take it back to him.
Ulysse turned himself in Friday. Avboraye-Igbinedion and English have already been arrested and had their initial appearances in court.
If convicted, each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud conspiracy.
Two other defendants from Florida who were previously charged, David Green, 25, and McArnold Charlemagne, 33, have pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 28 elderly victims of more than $939,000.
The Department of Justice has an interactive tool for elders who have been financially exploited to help determine to which agency they should report their incident, and also a senior scam alert website.