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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 17, 2022

Two Defendants Sentenced for Participating in Nationwide Grandparent Scam

Assistant U. S. Attorney Oleksandra “Sasha” Johnson (619) 546-9769  

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 17, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Two more defendants were sentenced in federal court today for participating in a large-scale “grandparent scam” racketeering conspiracy. 

Anajah Gifford, 24, of North Hollywood, California, received a sentence of 57 months in custody. Tracy Glinton, 35, of Orlando, Florida, was sentenced to time served. According to court documents, the defendants participated in a criminal enterprise that engaged in extortion and fraud to swindle more than $2 million from 70-plus elderly victims across the nation.  At least 10 elderly victims who resided in San Diego County lost over $300,000 to the fraud. 

From approximately November 1, 2019, until October 14, 2020, the members of the criminal enterprise targeted elderly Americans, contacting them by phone and feeding them phony stories that their grandchildren were in legal trouble and needed money to pay for bail, pay medical expenses for car accident victims, or prevent additional charges from being filed. Members of the conspiracy and their associates obtained money from victims through in-person cash pick-ups, by mail or commercial carriers, or via wire transfers.  Conspirators laundered the proceeds by transferring the funds or converting from fiat currency to cryptocurrency.

As part of her plea agreement, defendant Anajah Gifford admitted that she personally conducted cash pick-ups from victims under codefendant Timothy Ingram’s direction, and helped Ingram pay unlawful proceeds to codefendant Tracy Knowles. Gifford, personally and with co-defendant Ingram, also recruited and coordinated money mules in California. As part of her sentence, Gifford was ordered to forfeit $52,750 in proceeds she personally received from the offense and to pay $1,235,406.93 to the victims in restitution.

According to court documents, defendant Tracy Glinton’s primary role was to help codefendant Tracy Knowles receive proceeds from coconspirators who obtained victim funds.  In her plea agreement, Glinton admitted that she knew the money she received constituted proceeds of grandparent scams. As part of her sentence, Glinton was ordered to forfeit $9,950 in proceeds she personally received from the offense, and to pay $471,600 to the victims in restitution.  Ingram was previously sentenced to 108 months; Knowles remains at large. 

This case was investigated by the San Diego Elder Justice Task Force, which is a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and all San Diego County law enforcement agencies. The Elder Justice Task Force was established in February 2021 and is believed to be the first comprehensive law enforcement effort for this purpose anywhere in the country. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch.

“The defendants were members of a particularly sophisticated grandparent scam enterprise that callously and shamelessly targeted the elderly across our country,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Today’s sentencings hold the defendants accountable not only for the financial losses, but also the deep and long-lasting psychological damage their crimes can cause their victims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to seeking justice in frauds committed against elderly adults.  We will also continue to warn the public about the dangers of elder fraud.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the Elder Justice Task Force for their excellent work on this case.

“Because seniors are a particularly vulnerable victim group and are often specifically targeted for financial fraud crimes, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have prioritized our efforts to address elder fraud,” said Stacey Moy, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Diego Division. “Using such deceitful tactics bilk hard-earned money from aging victims – leaving so many financially devasted in their retirement years without recourse for recovery. We encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud or know a senior who may be, regardless of financial loss, to immediately report the incident to the FBI or another law enforcement agency.”

As of today, six of the eight defendants charged in the case have pleaded guilty. Two defendants are fugitives and remain at large.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 21cr2216-CAB                                       

Tracy Adrine Knowles                                   30        Orlando, Florida

Fugitive                                                     

Adonis Alexis Butler Wong                           30        Northbay Village, Florida

Fugitive

Timothy Ingram, aka Bleezy                          30        North Hollywood, California

Sentenced on August 31, 2022, to 108 months in prison.                                                                                              

Anajah Gifford                                                24        North Hollywood, California

Sentenced today to 57 months.

Lyda Harris                                                     74        Laveen, Arizona

Released on bond. Sentencing set for December 1, 2022.

Joaquin Lopez                                                 46        Hollywood, Florida

Sentenced on August 31, 2022, to 24 months in prison.

Jack Owuor                                                     25        Paramount, California                                           

Sentenced on August 17, 2022, to 46 months in prison. 

Tracy Glinton                                                 35        Orlando, Florida

Sentenced today to time served – Nine days.

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1962(d) – Conspiracy to Conduct or Participate in an Enterprise

Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and a fine of not more than the greater of twice the amount of gain or loss associated with the offense or $250,000

AGENCY

Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch

San Diego Elder Justice Task Force, which includes:

San Diego FBI

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

San Diego Police Department

San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Carlsbad Police Department

Oceanside Police Department

Escondido Police Department

Chula Vista Police Department

El Cajon Police Department

La Mesa Police Department

National City Police Department

Coronado Police Department

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
CAS22-1117-Gifford
Updated November 17, 2022