Five face federal charges for alleged nationwide elder fraud scam


Date: March 24, 2021


INDIANAPOLIS — Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress announced federal charges and arrests of five individuals for their roles in a nationwide elder fraud conspiracy. According to the criminal complaint, Darlens Renard of North Lauderdale, Florida; Jasaun Pope of Valley Stream, New York; Princess Elizer of Dallas, Georgia; Jennifer Glemeau of Marietta, Georgia; and Kareem Brown of North Baldwin, New York, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"Stealing the hard-earned money of seniors by preying on the love and commitment they have for their families is hard to comprehend," said Childress. "This type of loss not only causes significant financial hardship; it causes an emotional hardship for the victims as well. Our office is committed to rooting out these fraudsters and holding them accountable so they no longer can victimize our senior Hoosiers."

According to the charges, since at least April 2020, the defendants participated in a conspiracy to defraud seniors out of thousands of dollars in cash by convincing them that their relatives were in serious trouble and in dire need of money. The defendants would travel to a city, identify unoccupied residences where overnight packages could be sent, and relay those addresses to their co-conspirators. The co-conspirators would place calls to elderly victims and inform them 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 victim to send an overnight delivery of cash—typically between $5,000 and $15,000—to the address the defendants provided. The defendants tracked the overnight package of cash to the address, picked it up shortly after delivery, and then took their cut of the proceeds before sharing it with their co-conspirators.

To date, investigators have identified numerous victims of the defendants' scheme, who in total have lost over $350,000.

The charges allege that since April 2020 the defendants traveled to at least ten cities in five different states to perpetrate their scheme. In mid-August 2020, they came to Indianapolis, Indiana. After the defendants identified addresses, scam calls were made to at least seven victims, each from different states, who ultimately sent money to Indianapolis.

According to the complaint, one of the victims, from Crawfordsville, Indiana, was told that her daughter had been in an accident and was in legal trouble because a gun was found in her vehicle. In addition to asking for money, the caller allegedly told the victim that there was a "gag order" in her daughter's case, to prevent the victim from sharing the story with others. In two shipments, the Crawfordsville victim sent a total of $12,500 in cash to the defendants.

Similarly, another of the victims, from Orleans, Massachusetts, was allegedly told that her grandniece was involved in a vehicle collision that badly injured children in the other vehicle. The caller said he needed $9,000 in cash to be sent immediately to an address in Indianapolis for medical bills and legal fees. The next day, after sending the money, the victim received another call asking for another $9,000. The victim agreed to send the money but happened to speak with her grandniece later that day and learned the caller's story was a scam. The victim contacted law enforcement, which led to the investigation that resulted in today's charges.

This investigation was led by the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Metro Drug Task Force. The investigation was supported by the 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.

Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago stated, "IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to do what it does best…follow the money and disrupt criminal enterprises. In this case, the object of the defendant's schemes was to defraud the elderly. These charges are the result of ongoing efforts to protect and dissuade international criminal enterprises from establishing themselves in Indiana. Together with the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners, we identified and vigorously investigated the fraud and those involved in this scheme. IRS-CI is proud to be able to contribute our financial expertise to this international collaboration of law enforcement agencies."

Bryan Musgrove, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Detroit Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated, "This investigation was an excellent example of a partnership between federal and state law enforcement agencies and the Southern District of Indiana U.S. Attorney's Office. Together these partners brought down a large-scale fraud conspiracy that targeted the elderly. I fully commend the hard work and countless hours put forth by all the law enforcement agencies involved. Because of their hard work, several defendants who operated throughout the U.S. and Canada were brought to justice."

Raquel Ramirez, Director of the Metro Drug Task Force stated, "Although typically focusing on large-scale drug trafficking and violent offenders, Metro Drug Task Force was proud to participate in the international collaboration of law enforcement agencies to investigate and arrest this international criminal group targeting our most vulnerable citizens for financial gain."

The U.S. Attorney's Office would also like to thank the Sûreté du Québec's (Quebec Security) National Organized Crime Suppression Squad for their support and assistance during this investigation. Today, the Canadian authorities, based in Montreal, announced that they are currently carrying out a major law enforcement operation, including multiple search warrants, that targets a criminal organization perpetrating the elder fraud scam, which has specifically targeted victims in the United States.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Nick Linder and MaryAnn Mindrum, who are prosecuting this case for the government, each of the co-conspirators faces up to 20 years in prison on each charge if indicted and convicted.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, by trial or guilty plea, in federal court.