Louisville, KY – A federal grand jury in Louisville returned an indictment in October charging a New York man with conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his role in a “grandparent scam” that impacted senior victims around the country, including a Meade County individual who lost tens of thousands of dollars to the scam. “Grandparent scams,” also known as “person-in-need scams,” involve perpetrators making false claims to victims that their loved one is in jeopardy and in need of money that the perpetrator will use to assist the loved one.
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Lesley Allison of the Pittsburg Division made the announcement.
According to court documents, Juan Carlos Arcena Cabrera, 28, of Yonkers, New York, conspired with others to trick seniors into sending cash payments under the false pretense that a grandchild or loved one had been in a car accident or was facing legal trouble. Scam callers would reach out to victims repeatedly, claiming more money was needed to cover additional emergency expenses. As part of this conspiracy, Cabrera posed as the grandson of a Kentucky victim and attempted to pick up a parcel full of cash that the victim had shipped from Kentucky to a FedEx store in New York.
Cabrera was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal system. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating the case with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Secret Service, and the New York Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Corinne E. Keel is prosecuting the case.
This case was investigated and prosecuted as part of the National Elder Justice Task Force and the Kentucky Elder Justice Task Force. The Department of Justice’s mission of its Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s older adults. In response to the growing need and targeting areas of greatest concern, the Department of Justice initially stood up 10 task forces made up of 11 federal districts to combat a variety of elder abuse, including elder financial exploitation. Kentucky’s federal districts make up two of the 11 districts under the Initiative. Kentucky’s task force is comprised of investigators, prosecutors, and others at the local, state, and federal level with a common objective of protecting seniors across Kentucky.
In October, the Department announced that as part of its continuing efforts to protect older adults and bring perpetrators of fraud schemes to justice it is expanding the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, adding 14 new U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Expansion of the Strike Force will help to coordinate the Department’s ongoing efforts to combat largest and most harmful fraud schemes that target or disproportionately impact older adults.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.