NewsLocal News


GRANDPARENT SCAM: FL AG says fraud ring targeted Lee County seniors and others

The Attorney General's office says the suspects pretended to be lawyers.
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 02, 2024

Six suspected fraudsters, accused of stealing more than $250,000 from Florida seniors through “Grandparent scams” are now sitting behind bars.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution announced the arrest of six members of the suspected fraud ring.

According to the AG’s office, the fraudsters targeted elderly individuals, posed as attorneys, and told the victims their grandchildren were arrested after hitting a pregnant woman with a vehicle and needed bail money.

“These fraudsters know that most grandparents would do anything to help a grandchild in need, and through a convincing imposter scheme they used fear and family to extort Florida seniors,” Moody said in a press release.

The six defendants, Jairo Izquierdo, Gennesis Castro, Wendy Angelina Ortiz, Ada Tido, Wandy Castro, and Olfa Cornielle, face multiple first-degree felonies, including organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and criminal use of personal identification.

Victims have been reported in several counties throughout the state, including southwest Florida.

In one case, a Sarasota victim sent $8,000 and the fraudsters called back the next day saying the pregnant woman lost the child and requested another $4,000 for bail.

In Lee County, the victim took several thousand dollars out of their bank account, but a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy was able to inform the victim they were part of a scam before any money was lost.

“It’s like a pressure sales tactic, except by use of fraud and scams,” said Zachary Zermay, a Consumer Attorney in Fort Myers who specializes in scam cases.