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Press Release

Two Indicted in Scheme that Allegedly Laundered over $2 Million Generated by ‘Grandparent Scams’ Targeting Elderly Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – FBI agents this morning arrested a West Los Angeles man who is one of two defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging a scheme that laundered at least $2 million in proceeds obtained from victims of grandparent scams who were defrauded with bogus claims that their relatives were in distress and urgently needed funds.

James Wesley Jackson III, aka “Imperial,” 42, pleaded not guilty this afternoon to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The two-count indictment unsealed this afternoon also charges Christopher Fagon (who had several aliases, mostly variations of “Christopher Broker”), 45, who at the time of the alleged scheme lived in the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles, and who is now believed to reside in or near Toronto, Canada.

The indictment outlines how perpetrators of grandparent scams convince victims to send money – purportedly to help relatives, often their grandchildren, who are typically described as being in legal trouble – “to bank accounts, business entities, and physical addresses specified by the scammers, using interstate wires and cashier’s checks…, for the supposed purpose of assisting the relatives in distress.” The victims’ money often is initially handled by “money mules,” who allow their addresses or bank accounts to be used or agree to receive or negotiate cashier’s checks.

Fagon allegedly was a manager of money mules, including Jackson, who also recruited his own money mules. The indictment further alleges that Fagon created business entities and opened bank accounts using information stolen from identity theft victims.

Once money was in the accounts associated with the money mules or identity theft victims, Fagon and Jackson allegedly engaged in transactions designed to conceal the true nature of the funds, which had been obtained via wire fraud.

The indictment specifically alleges that the scheme laundered funds obtained from victims of grandparent scams who reside in California and as far away as Pennsylvania.

The bank fraud scheme alleged in the indictment involves fraudulently obtained funds that were held in suspense in an account that had been set up in the name of an identity theft victim. Fagon, Jackson and a co-conspirator allegedly worked together to contact the bank and impersonate the identity theft victim to secure the issuance of a check for nearly $83,000 that was remaining in the account.

At his arraignment this afternoon, Jackson was ordered released on bond, and a trial was scheduled for February 6, 2024.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, and the charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a sentence of up to 30 years.

The FBI is conducting the investigation in this case. The Toronto Police Service in Canada provided assistance in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Monica E. Tait of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Vulnerable Communities Task Force, which is focused on investigating and prosecuting individuals and entities that prey on communities that typically are less likely to report crimes to law enforcement and historically have had less legal recourse to address the offenders targeting them. These groups may include immigrants and migrant workers defrauded in immigration schemes, indigent individuals reliant on public benefits, the elderly, and those who have been reluctant to seek assistance from government authorities.


Thom Mrozek
Director of Media Relations
(213) 894-6947

Updated December 12, 2023

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-275