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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 29, 2021

South Windsor Man Charged with Defrauding Grandparents of $679K

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging DOUGLAS SENERTH, 32, of South Windsor, with offenses related to his alleged theft of approximately $679,000 from his grandparents.

The indictment was returned on June 7, 2021.  Senerth appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson in Hartford and entered a plea of not guilty.  He has been detained in state custody since February 10, 2021, when he was arrested on unrelated charges.

As alleged in the indictment, Senerth defrauded his grandmother and his late grandfather by falsely claiming to be a college student and inducing them to give him approximately $419,000 to pay for nonexistent college tuition and other related expenses, and an additional approximately $260,000 by falsely claiming that he would invest their money into an investment fund run by one of his nonexistent professors.  As part of the scheme, Senerth created fraudulent college transcripts, letters and email accounts that he used to corroborate his lies.

The indictment charges Senerth with three counts of wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count.

Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Cherry.

The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud.  The Hotline is staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers.  Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed.  When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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).

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 30, 2021