Men imprisoned for targeting elderly in northern Ohio with “Grandparent Scam”

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Two Florida men were sentenced to prison for operating a scam that targeted elderly victims in northern Ohio.

Court records state that 25-year-old John Tyler Pla and 26-year-old Johnny Lee Palmer, both from Tampa, operated a “Grandparent Scam” that focused on the elderly in northern Ohio cities, including Brecksville, Parma, Gates Mills, Lorain, Mansfield, Fairview Park, Westlake and Mentor.

They were both sentenced before U.S. Judge Pamela A. Barker on Tuesday morning. Pla was sentenced to 37 months in prison, while Palmer was sentenced to 33 months in prison.


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They were also ordered to pay $383,932 in restitution to the victims affected by the scam operation.

According to court records, others involved in the scheme would call elderly victims, pretending to be a family member who needs bail money. Some also pretended to be an attorney for that family member, records say.

They would then arrange to collect money from the victim through a purported “courier.” Instead, however, records state that Pla or Palmer would show up to collect the money.


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The operation was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the FBI and the Westlake Police Department.

If you or someone you know is 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).

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