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Man sentenced in scam targeting older victims in Kentucky, across U.S.

He was involved what was considered grandparent scam

(Story Courtesy of Kentucky Today)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – A New Mexico man was sentenced last week to one year and six months in federal prison for his role in a sweeping “grandparent scam” that targeted victims in Kentucky and across the United States through Canadian-based call center

According to court documents, callers would convince senior victims that their grandchild or other family member had an emergency, usually a car accident, and urgently needed money from the victim. Co-conspirators posing as “couriers” would then collect cash from victims at home and others would launder the criminal proceeds, both through traditional banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The charged wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy spanned from August 2020 to May 2021 and impacted hundreds of victims across the United States—including in Kentucky—who lost over $3 million in total.

Robert Louis Sanchez, 57, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was sentenced last week to one year and six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in April, for his role both as a courier and sometimes as the “safehouse” who would guard cash that was taken from victims.  

Four other defendants have previously entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced in the case:

--Jairo Ostia Roberts, 44, who traveled from Panama to the United States to act as a courier in the scheme, was sentenced on March 9, 2023, to 6 months in prison followed by 1 year of supervised release, for wire fraud conspiracy. Roberts was removed to Panama upon his release from U.S. Bureau of Prisons custody.

--Panama Abel Diaz Adames, 39, who also traveled from Panama to the United States to act as a courier in the scheme, was sentenced on April 4, 2024, to 1 year and 4 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for wire fraud conspiracy.

--Christopher Courcoulacos, 46, a Canadian citizen who had been residing in Panama, was considered a “manager or supervisor” within the conspiracy, and was sentenced on November 9, 2023, to 6 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for wire fraud conspiracy.

--Mark Anthony Phillips, 44, of Ruskin, Florida, was sentenced on May 2, 2024, to 6 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charged in the Western District of Kentucky, as well as pleading guilty to five additional money laundering counts, originally charged in the Western District of New York, which were transferred to Kentucky for guilty pleas and sentencing. 

There is no parole in the federal system.

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