Skip to main content
Press Release

Rhode Island Law Enforcement Working Collaboratively to Combat Elder Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE – “Every day, this Office sees the financial ruin and emotional devastation inflicted on elderly victims by scams and fraud schemes. The most recent FBI statistics are staggering: in 2021 nearly 100,000 American seniors reported being defrauded by scammers of $1.7 billion dollars. That’s more than just a statistic – it’s a life changing event that many never recover from, and we are determined to leverage our resources to bring to justice those who prey on our elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbors.”

That’s the sobering reality United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha outlined today at the outset of a law enforcement elder fraud investigation and prosecution training program attended by more than sixty members of Rhode Island federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Hosted by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, in collaboration with the United States Postal Inspection Service, today’s training program focused on identifying the most common elder fraud scams; utilizing techniques and federal laws to build a case from a one-victim complaint to identifying larger fraud networks; overcoming challenges law enforcement and prosecutors face while investigating and prosecuting elder fraud cases; the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies; and support and resources available for victims of crimes against the elderly.

“Elder fraud consists of financial crimes that target older people’s money or property. It includes telephone, internet, and varying mail scams, noted Bristol Police Chief  Kevin M. Lynch. “As President of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, we know that your local police will be your first call to report an incident. We pledge to work with our partners in State and Federal law enforcement and will be your advocate and champion to ensure that your property, identity, and concerns are investigated and safeguarded to the best of our ability. Do not hesitate to contact your local police department even if you are embarrassed or have questions, as knowledge and timely collaboration are key to successful outcomes.”

“The partnership between the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office has always been a strong one,” said Darnell Edwards, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division.  “Today’s training on elderly fraud investigation and prosecution highlights our joint effort to combat criminals’ ability to prey on our most vulnerable. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service remains committed to investigating and pursuing criminals to ensure the public’s trust in a safe and secure mail system.”

In addition to significant collaboration across the country between federal and state law enforcement agencies investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of scams against the elderly, the Department of Justice recently expanded its Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to amplify efforts to combat scams originating overseas. In the past year, the Justice Department notified over 550,000 individuals that they may be eligible for remission payments.

United States Attorney Cunha and Chief Lynch thank New England Institute of Technology for the use of their East Greenwich facility for today’s training program, and thank Assistant United States Attorney Denise M. Barton, Elder Justice Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office, and United States Postal Inspection Service Inspector Cory P. McManus for their presentations at today’s program.




Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated February 1, 2023

Elder Justice
Press Release Number: 23-15