27 October 2023- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Josiah DeJesus, age 22, of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty on October 26, 2023, before United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, to serving as a coordinating courier in a Dominican Republic-based “grandparents” fraud scheme that preyed upon elderly, American victims from states across the country.
According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, from approximately June 2020 to October 2020, along with four other Bronx men whom he recruited, DeJesus regularly traveled from New York City to various locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio to retrieve UPS and Fed Ex packages containing thousands of dollars in cash. These packages were sent by elderly victims, who were induced to send the money based upon false claims that their grandchildren had been arrested and charged with serious vehicular crimes and, consequently, were in immediate need of money. These false claims were made to the elderly victims in phone calls that they received from DeJesus’ oversees co-conspirators in the Dominican Republic, who posed either as the victims’ grandchildren or as attorneys representing the victims’ grandchildren.
DeJesus acknowledged that the monetary loss attributable to his conduct was between $250,000 and $550,000, that his conduct resulted in substantial financial hardship to five or more victims and involved the unlawful use of the means of identification of five or more victims. DeJesus agreed to make restitution to the victims in the amount of $328,780.00.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation –Philadelphia Division, and its state and local law enforcement partners in Berks County, PA. Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery St John is prosecuting the case.
The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.