INDIANAPOLIS — An 82-year-old Crawfordsville woman is one of the numerous people scammed out of thousands of dollars by a group of five people allegedly part of a nationwide elder fraud scam.
The group — Darlens Renard, 31, of North Lauderdale, Florida; Jasaun Pope, 30, of Valley Stream, New York; Princess Elizer, 30, of Dallas, Georgia; Jennifer Glemeau, 28, of Marietta, Georgia; and Kareem Brown, 30, of North Baldwin, New York — are all accused of traveling the country and collecting thousands in cash sent by elderly people who were led to believe their relatives were in serious trouble.
The five suspects are all accused of scheming several victims across the country out of more than $350,000 since April 2020.
Each of them is facing federal charges for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, acting United States Attorney John E. Childress announced.
One of the elderly victims part of the Department of Justice's complaint against the group of five is an unnamed 82-year-old woman from Crawfordsville.
According to the DOJ, the group told the woman that her daughter had been in an accident and was in legal trouble because a gun was found in her vehicle. The group allegedly told the victim that her daughter had a "gag order" in her case and that she could not share what happened with others.
The 82-year-old then sent a total of $12,500 in two shipments to the group thinking it would help her daughter.
And, according to the DOJ, this is what the defendants would do — travel from city to city, identify unoccupied residences where overnight packages could be sent, and then call and tell their targets that one of their relatives had an urgent legal or medical problem that required money, fast.
The callers would often pose as an attorney, police officer, or other authority figures to request overnight cash. Typically in orders of $5,000 to $15,000.
The group tracked the overnight package, picked it up shortly after being delivered, and split the checks.
A similar situation to the Crawfordsville woman happened to an 81-year-old woman in Orleans, Massachusetts. Except, she called her relative that was supposedly in trouble. She quickly figured out it had to be a scam and alerted the authorities, which is what started the investigation.
This investigation was led by the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Metro Drug Task Force. Several FBI units nationwide supported the investigation as well.
“Stealing the hard-earned money of seniors by preying on the love and commitment they have for their families is hard to comprehend,” Childress stated in the announcement. “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.”
Each of the alleged conspirators faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.