Northwest Iowa — If you have been one of the victims, or potential victims, of a “Grandparent Scam” phone call, you’ll probably be happy to know that six individuals from eastern Iowa have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in such a scam.
The “Grandparent Scam” is the one in which people receive a phone call from someone impersonating their grandchild, who tells the victim that they’re in jail somewhere far away, and need the grandparent to wire several thousand dollars in “bail money” via Western Union or Money Gram to get the “grandchild” released.
Now, several people from eastern Iowa will be heading to federal prison for taking part in the scam. The U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids says six people from Dubuque were sentenced in federal court Thursday to participating in the “Grandparent Scam” fraud that victimized more than 250 elderly victims across the United States, who lost a total of more than three-quarters of a million dollars as a result of the fraud.
All six admitted that, while they never made the calls to the victims themselves, others involved in the scheme did make the “Grandparent Scam” calls. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the six admitted that they had picked up the money that had been wired to the Dubuque area by the victims. In addition, two of the defendants admitted to sending the proceeds to other participants in the scheme located in the Dominican Republic.
Authorities say all six defendants were sentenced for one count each of Wire Fraud, with sentences handed down ranging from 33-years to 8-years in federal prison. The length of prison term was based on the number of victims defrauded by each defendant. In addition to the prison term, each of the defendants was ordered to pay restitution to their victims, in amounts ranging from just over $33-thousand to just over $64-thousand.
All six individuals were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade. Each must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after being released from prison. There is no parole in the federal system.