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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2022

South Windsor Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Grandparents of $679K

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DOUGLAS SENERTH, 33, of South Windsor, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing approximately $679,000 from his grandparents.  Judge Chatigny also ordered Senerth to serve the first six months of his supervised release in home confinement.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2011 and 2019, 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.

Judge Chatigny ordered Senerth to pay restitution of $679,944.

Senerth has been detained in state custody since February 10, 2021, when he was arrested on unrelated charges.  On February 23, 2022, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud.

Senerth’s state case is pending.  His federal sentence will begin when his state case is resolved.

This investigation was 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).  For more information, please visit: https://ovc.ojp.gov/program/stop-elder-fraud/providing-help-restoring-hope.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated July 21, 2022