Dept. of Justice charges unprecedented number  of elder fraud defendants nationwide, launches hotline

Attorney General William P. Barr, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, and Chief Postal Inspector Gary R. Barksdale announced Thursday, March 5 the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.  This year, prosecutors charged more than 400 defendants, far surpassing the 260 defendants charged in cases as part of last year’s sweep.  In each case, offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors.  In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused alleged losses of over a billion dollars.

Barr made the announcement at a “Keeping Seniors Safe” event in Florida, outlining his vision for protecting older Americans from financial harm.  The event focused attention on the threat posed by foreign-based fraud schemes that victimize seniors in large numbers. 

During the event, Barr said, “Prevention and disruption of transnational elder fraud” is one of the DOJ’s four top priorities . . . This year, the department prosecuted more than 400 defendants, whose schemes totaled more than a billion dollars,” Barr said.

“Every day, American consumers, particularly older Americans, receive offers that sound just too good to be true,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.  “Some come through the mail; others by telephone or the Internet.  These offers have one objective--to rob seniors of their hard-earned money.” 

This interactive map provides state by state information on the elder fraud cases and education and prevention community outreach efforts highlighted by today’s sweep announcement.

Elder Fraud Hotline

Attorney General Barr also announced the launch of a National Elder Fraud Hotline, which will provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud.  The Hotline will be staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers. When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller.  The Hotline’s toll free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).