Three indicted for fraudulent ‘Grandparent Scheme’ in Western Pa.

Pennsylvania News

PITTSBURGH (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Three men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for their alleged involvement in a wire fraud scheme of elderly people in Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced Roderick Feurtado, 54, and Tarek Bouanane, 45 — both from Las Vegas, Nev. — and Roberto Gutierrez, 49 of Reseda, Calif., are facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to the indictment, in September 2021, the defendants traveled to the Pittsburgh area to conduct a fraudulent scheme, targeting elderly victims. To do so, the three defendants called the victims, claiming to be an attorney and told the victims their relatives — typically a grandchild — had been incarcerated and needed money for bail and legal fees.

The indictment adds after the initial phone calls, with assistance from Feurtado and other members of the conspiracy, Bouanane and Gutierrez then posed as couriers or bail bondsman, visited the victims at their homes and collected money from them. The indictment claims a total of at least $250,000 was fraudulently obtained in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere as a result of the conspiracy.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendants if there is any.

The Department of Homeland Security Investigations and Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

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