Posted on Leave a comment

AG: Grandparent Scammer Gets 30 Months In Prison

The US District Courthouse in Providence, RI.
The US District Courthouse in Providence, RI.
The US District Courthouse in Providence, RI.

PROVIDENCE, RI – A New York City man, a so-called grandparent scammer who posed as victims’ grandchildren in duress to ask for money, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to repay $867,000 to the elders.

Jean Richard Audate, 38, traveled to various U.S. locations, including Rhode Island, to pick-up thousands of dollars in cash provided by seniors who had become the unsuspecting victims of the so called “grandparent scams,”  according to United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Audate was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to 30 months of incarceration followed by three years of federal supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a total of $867,149 to victims of the scam. Audate pleaded guilty on Feb. 24, 2023, to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud.

According to information presented to the court, in January 2021, New Haven, CT, Police began to receive reports from out-of-state police departments that elderly residents in their areas had been defrauded out of large amounts of money through a grandparent scam. A broader investigation by the New Haven Police and the FBI revealed that members of the conspiracy contacted elderly victims throughout the United States, including in Rhode Island, by telephone.

Posing as the victim’s grandchild, a relative, a lawyer, or other individual, members of the conspiracy falsely told the victim that a relative, typically the victim’s grandchild or child, had been arrested or incarcerated in connection with a car accident, and that the relative needed money for bail or related legal expenses.

To conceal the crime and prevent victims from sharing information about the calls and requests for money, members of the conspiracy falsely told victims that a “gag order” was in place in their relative’s legal matter that prohibited the victim from sharing information with anyone else. In numerous instances, at the direction of others, Audate traveled to various locations where he retrieved the cash payments that, as directed by the scammers, had been shipped by the victims to designated addresses.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.

United States Attorney Cunha thanked the Lincoln, RI, and Brookline, MA, Police Departments for their assistance in the investigation.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

This is a test