EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Officials announced a man pleaded guilty to serving as a coordinating courier in a “grandparents” fraud scheme that preyed upon elderly victims from states across the country including Pennsylvania.

According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, from June 2020 to October 2020, along with four other Bronx men whom he recruited, Josiah DeJesus, 22, of the Bronx, regularly traveled from New York City to various locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio to retrieve UPS and Fedex packages containing thousands of dollars in cash.

Police say these packages were sent by elderly victims, who were tricked into sending the money based on false claims that their grandchildren had been arrested and charged with serious crimes and were in immediate need of money.

These false claims were made to the elderly victims in phone calls that they received from DeJesus’ overseas co-conspirators in the Dominican Republic, who posed either as the victims’ grandchildren or as attorneys representing the victims’ grandchildren, stated investigators.

DeJesus admitted that he gained between $250,000 and $550,000, from the scam and that his scheme resulted in financial hardship to five or more victims. DeJesus agreed to make restitution to the victims in the amount of $328,780.00.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine