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Press Release

Florida Man Sentenced To Prison For International Fraud Conspiracy That Targeted Senior Citizens

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Jorrel Tyler Jackson, 31, of Seffner, Florida, was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison for his role in an international fraud conspiracy that targeted senior citizens in several states, including Michigan. U.S. District Judge Jane M. Beckering, who imposed the sentence, found that Jackson was responsible for causing $1,584,077 in loss to 22 victims of the conspiracy, and ordered him to pay restitution in that amount. 

          “Crimes that exploit seniors can be devastating, depriving victims of their savings, their independence, and their dignity,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “My office will vigorously pursue criminals who target the elderly and other vulnerable citizens in Michigan.”

          According to court records, Jackson’s role in the conspiracy was to meet with victims and collect packages of money from them, which he then passed on to higher-level members of the conspiracy. He also recruited others to join the conspiracy. A victim in West Michigan lost $398,000 to the conspiracy.         

          Jackson was one of seven defendants who were charged last year with participating in the fraud scheme.  For the victims, the scheme began when they received a message on their computers warning that a virus had infected their devices.  The messages urged the victims to call a number to get help. When the victims called the number provided, they got a response from someone claiming to work for a tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple.  In truth, they were scammers located in India, who scared the victims into giving money to the conspiracy with a variety of different ruses. 

          In one version of the scam, victims were told their bank accounts had been compromised and they needed to withdraw all their cash and give it to fake “federal agents” for safekeeping.  In another version, victims were told a virus had infected their computers and they needed to pay for technical support.  In a third version, victims were told they had been identified in a criminal investigation and needed to turn over money to clear their names.  Regardless of which ruse was used, the result was the same: victims were convinced to give money to the scammers. Victims did this during in-person meetings with fake “federal agents,” by mailing boxes of cash to addresses provided by the scammers, by wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the scammers, or through gift cards they purchased at the direction of the scammers.

          U.S. Attorney Totten shared the following safety tips to help prevent becoming a victim: “To protect yourself, never click on unsolicited pop-ups, links sent by text message or email, don’t download software at the request of someone you don’t know, and always remember that the government and law enforcement will never call and ask you for money.”

          “Fraudsters are targeting our senior community at an alarming rate nationwide. Criminals continue to take advantage of their trusting nature and generosity,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI in Michigan. “We must empower our seniors with knowledge about elder fraud and its various forms to protect them from this intolerable manipulation. If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder fraud, we ask that you report it immediately to the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311) or file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at We will not allow these criminals to continue exploiting our seniors.”

          For more information on preventing elder fraud and help for victims, visit the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative website, which includes a list of Michigan-specific resources. The FBI Elder Fraud website also provides several resources, including the following tips to help seniors protect themselves:

  • Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
  • Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people have likely posted information online about individuals and businesses trying to run scams.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don't know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts, and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.

          The case was investigated by the FBI and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan, and the Department of Homeland Security in Louisiana. Assistant United States Attorney Clay Stiffler prosecuted the case. 

          Five of the seven defendants charged in the case have entered guilty pleas. The charges against the remaining two defendants are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.



Updated April 26, 2024

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud