First of Five Defendants Sentenced to Over 8 Years in Federal Prison for his Role in Nationwide Grandparent Scam
INDIANAPOLIS – Jasaun Pope a/k/a “Biz”, 31, of Valley Stream, New York, was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison late yesterday for mail fraud and money laundering offenses related to his role in a nationwide elder fraud scheme. Pope and four co-conspirators have all signed plea agreements for their roles in the offense, and Pope is the first to be sentenced.
According to court documents, from at least April 2020 and continuing through January 2021, Pope, along with co-conspirators Darlens Renard, Princess Elizer, Jennifer Glemeau, and Kareem Brown, targeted and exploited the elderly and their relationships with their relatives for personal financial gain. This sophisticated criminal network, through extortion and fraud, induced elderly Americans across the United States to pay tens of thousands of dollars to help their grandchild or other close family relative in a scam known as a “Grandparent Scam.”
Unidentified members of the conspiracy made scam telephone calls to elderly victims in Indiana and nationwide claiming that their grandchild or other relative had an urgent legal or medical problem and needed money immediately. The caller, who often claimed to be an attorney, police officer, or other authority figure, told the victims to send an overnight delivery of cash to help the purported relative in need—typically between $5,000 and $15,000—to a delivery address used by the conspiracy. Pope’s crew, consisting of Elizer, Glemeau, and Brown, traveled to cities around the country to identify unoccupied residences to use as cash delivery addresses. Pope’s crew relayed the delivery addresses to Pope, who in turn, sent them to Renard, who provided them to other members of the conspiracy. Pope’s crew then traveled to the delivery addresses to retrieve the cash sent by the elderly victims and the conspirators divided the criminal proceeds amongst themselves.
To date, investigators have identified over sixty-eight suspected victims of the defendants’ scheme and identified losses amounting to over $683,464.
“These sophisticated criminal organizations exploit the elderly by preying on the love and commitment they have for their families,” said United States Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “These heinous frauds wreak immeasurable financial and emotional harm on victims to satisfy the greed of networks of criminals. Our office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute scammers who seek to take advantage of vulnerable members of our community.”
“Honest and hard-working citizens are fed up with criminals who exploit the vulnerable through scams and deceit,” said Justin Campbell, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Those who engage in this type of cruel financial fraud should know they will not fly under the radar and will be held accountable.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to vigorously pursue those who utilize the U.S. Mail to advance their fraud schemes,” said Rodney Hopkins, Inspector in Charge of the Detroit Division. “Crimes of these type bring grave financial and personal hardships to their victims. Criminal misuse of the U.S. Mail will not be tolerated, and our agency will continue to go after those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable individuals.”
“The Metro Drug Task Force is proud of the work of our investigators who stepped outside their normal scope of investigations to bring these criminals to justice,” said Bryan P. Smith, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. “We want to thank our federal and international partners for their cooperation to bring this case together. For those criminals that wish to victimize central Indiana communities, the Task Force will continue to use whatever means available to them to find bad actors and make our communities safer.”
The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Metro Drug Task Force investigated the case. The investigation was supported by the Baltimore Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chicago Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshal’s Service, and state and local law enforcement partners in Orleans, Massachusetts; Bartonville, Illinois; Starkville, Mississippi; New York, New York; Ossining, New York; Westchester County, New York; Delaware County, Ohio; Hermantown, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Sumter County, South Carolina; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Sumner County, Tennessee; Hurst, Texas; and Richmond, Virginia.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. As part of the sentence, Judge Magnus-Stinson also ordered that the defendant be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following his release from federal prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $554,574.02 to the victims.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys MaryAnn T. Mindrum and Nicholas J. Linder who prosecuted this case.
The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The best method for prevention, however, is by sharing information about the various types of elder fraud schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors, and other seniors who can use that information to protect themselves.