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Press Release

Department Of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana Observes the 15th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
U.S. Attorney Strasser reminds seniors and their caregivers to be vigilant for fraudulent schemes

NEW ORLEANS – Today, U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser joined Attorney General William P. Barr and the entire Department of Justice in observing the 15th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The Department echoes voices around the world condemning elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our country and the world, but among those most severely affected by the threat of the novel virus are our senior citizens. During this time when seniors are most vulnerable and isolated from their families and loved ones by social distancing and quarantine restrictions, bad actors have immediately exploited this international tragedy to prey on the elderly through a whole host of scam and fraud schemes. As the world takes this day to remember the elderly during these uncertain times, the Department of Justice remains relentlessly committed, through its department-wide Elder Justice Initiative, to prevent and prosecute fraud on America’s seniors.

The Department will aggressively prosecute fraudsters exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic and targeting seniors offering them fake testing kits and fake help obtaining stimulus and Paycheck Protection Program Funds.  On this day dedicated to recognizing our seniors, the Department of Justice sends a strong message that we continue the fight to keep seniors safe a top priority.

“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day provides us the opportunity to look back at our accomplishments and look forward to our future endeavors to combat elder abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Strasser.  “Elder fraud schemes target elderly, disabled and other vulnerable consumers, luring them into fraudulent ventures that affect victims nationwide.  Elder fraud generates excessive losses, which have a profound effect on our nation.  With the unwavering cooperation of our investigative partners, we will hold the perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable wherever they are. Our office reminds seniors and their caregivers to be vigilant for fraudulent schemes and, if they become aware of or believe they are the victim of a health care fraud scheme, to contact law enforcement.”

Earlier this year Attorney General Barr declared “Prevention and Disruption of Transnational Elder Fraud” to be an Agency Priority Goal, making it one of the Department’s four top priorities.  Within the last year, the Eastern District of Louisiana has investigated a number of elder fraud cases, including the six Mexican Nationals involved in a $10 million dollar time-share fraud scheme.

Major strides have already been made to combat transnational elder fraud:

  • National Elder Fraud Hotline: 833-FRAUD-11
    Earlier this year Attorney General Barr launched a National Elder Fraud Hotline. Staffed by experienced case managers who provide personalized support to callers, the hotline serves to assist elders and caretakers who believe they have been a victim of fraud by reporting and providing appropriate services.
  • Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force: Established in June 2019 to combat foreign elder fraud schemes, the Strike Force is composed of the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch and six U.S. Attorneys’ Offices along with FBI special agents, Postal Inspectors, and numerous other law enforcement personnel.  Since its inception, prosecutors in Strike Force districts brought cases against more than 140 defendants.
  • Annual Elder Justice Sweep: In March of this year, the Attorney General announced the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in department history. The Department, together with every U.S. Attorney’s office, charged more than 400 defendants.  The actions of these individuals caused over $1 billion in losses through fraud schemes that largely affected seniors, including six defendants in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
  • Money Mule Initiative: Since October 2018, the Department and its law enforcement partners began a concentrated effort across the country and around the world to disrupt, investigate, and prosecute money mule activity used to facilitate fraud schemes, especially those victimizing senior citizens. In 2019 actions were taken to halt the conduct of more than 600 domestic money mules. These actions exceeded a similar effort against approximately 400 mules in the previous year. Working with the United States Post Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Eastern District has sought to disrupt the use of money mules through cease and desist letters.
  • Holding foreign-based perpetrators and those that flee the United States accountable: Transnational criminal organizations are targeting our elder population in schemes including mass mailing fraud, grandparent scams, romance scams, lottery and sweepstakes scams, IRS and Social Security Administration imposter scams, and technical-support scams. As noted above, the Eastern District of Louisiana indicted six Mexican Nationals for masterminding a time-share fraud scheme that impacted more than forty U.S. victims over the age of 60. These six individuals have since been arrested while in the United States.

For more information on enforcement actions, training and resources, research, and victim services, please visit

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Updated June 15, 2020

Elder Justice