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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Costa Rican Fraudster Made Millions Fleecing Elderly Americans

A major breakthrough has been achieved in the investigation of a fraudulent scheme that targeted elderly victims across the United States. Federico Hernandez Gamboa, believed to be the mastermind of this criminal operation, was arrested on February 10th at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as he attempted to flee the country.

According to Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Gamboa was the ringleader of an elaborate conspiracy that defrauded numerous seniors out of approximately $4.3 million over the past two and a half years. By impersonating high-ranking federal government officials, Gamboa and his associates were able to convince their victims that they had won multimillion dollar sweepstakes prizes. However, before the prizes could be claimed, the victims were informed they needed to pay substantial taxes and fees.

“Gamboa and his co-conspirators exploited some of the most vulnerable members of our society – the elderly – through lies and deception,” said U.S. Attorney Williams during a press conference. “Their despicable actions have caused tremendous financial and emotional hardship. Hopefully, this arrest brings some solace to the victims as we continue building an irrefutable case against everyone involved.”

The fraud ring based their operations out of Costa Rica, contacting victims residing across the U.S. via telephone. They instructed their victims to wire transfer funds to Costa Rican bank accounts controlled by Gamboa and his associates. According to authorities, they also stole personal information from the victims to create fake IDs and loan agreements as part of the elaborate ruse.

Gamboa has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 32 years in federal prison. Investigators are actively working to identify and apprehend over a dozen other individuals believed to be connected to the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Williams urged the public, especially elderly citizens, to exercise extreme caution when contacted about lottery winnings or other prizes. He advised seeking guidance from a trusted friend or family member before sending any money or personal information to strangers. Authorities also reminded seniors to report any suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission.

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