Skip to main content
Press Release

SDTX to be Part of New Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
Law Enforcement Effort Will Coordinate Action Against Foreign Fraud Schemes that Target American Seniors

HOUSTON - Attorney General William P. Barr has announced the establishment of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for six federal districts, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and other organizations. The Southern District of Texas will be one of the offices part of that group.

The Strike Force will focus on investigating and prosecuting individuals and entities associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors. These include telemarketing, mass-mailing and tech-support fraud schemes.

“Elder Fraud comes in many variations – through the mail, online and even in person,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick. “By focusing on these cases, we hope to send a message from the low level hucksters to the sophisticated international organizations that when we find you, we will prosecute you.”

The Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force will be comprised of prosecutors and data analysts from the Consumer Protection Branch, prosecutors with the SDTX and five other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (Central District of California, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, Northern District of Georgia and Eastern District of New York), FBI special agents, Postal Inspectors and numerous other law enforcement personnel. The Strike Force will also collaborate with the Federal Trade Commission and industry partners, who have pledged to engage with the Department to help end the scourge of elder fraud. It will further benefit from the help of the Elder Justice Coordinators now assigned in every U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Quincy Ollison is the coordinator for the SDTX.

“Fraud against the elderly is on the rise,” said Barr. “One of the most significant and pernicious causes for this increase is foreign-based fraud schemes. The new Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force will bring together the expertise and resources of our prosecutors, federal and international law enforcement partners, and other government agencies to better target, investigate and prosecute criminals abroad who prey on our elderly at home. The Department of Justice is committed to ending the victimization of elders across the country.”

“It doesn’t matter where these criminals live. We’re committed to keeping our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, or online, from thousands of miles away,” said Director Christopher Wray of the FBI. “Our new Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force will give us additional resources and tools to identify and stop those who are targeting our senior communities from overseas. If you think you may be a victim of elder fraud, or you know someone who is, please let us know. We want to help.”

“Protecting older Americans and educating them and their caregivers about foreign lotteries and sweepstakes has been a long-time priority of the Postal Inspection Service,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale. “Our consumer awareness programs, coupled with our investigative efforts, have prevented countless older Americans from fraud and financial exploitation. But there’s so much more than can be done. By joining our partner agencies in this Strike Force, we become more effective at identifying and stopping those who prey on our vulnerable citizens.”

Using analytical tools and sophisticated investigative approaches, the Strike Force will seek to identify those responsible for foreign fraud schemes affecting American seniors, as well as those individuals and entities facilitating such schemes. The Strike Force will coordinate closely with foreign law enforcement and will use all available criminal and civil tools to stop victims from losing money and to hold wrongdoers responsible.

The Attorney General announced creation of the Strike Force as part of a week of events recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of older adults who experience elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

The establishment of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force builds on the Trump Administration’s commitment to combating elder fraud. That commitment was reflected in the Department’s historic 2018 and 2019 Elder Fraud Sweeps—which collectively brought criminal and civil actions against more than 500 defendants responsible for defrauding more than $1.5 billion from at least 3 million victims —as well as the 2018 Rural and Tribal Elder Justice Summit.

Updated January 12, 2022

Elder Justice