The Penalties for Running “Grandparent Scams” in Florida

Scams are rampant these days, and elderly people unfortunately find themselves in the crosshairs. As the most vulnerable members of Florida’s population — both mentally and physically — these seniors represent ideal targets for scammers across the United States. With Florida’s large retiree population, authorities are very serious about cracking down on anyone who tries to scam seniors out of their money. But what happens if you’re caught conducting these scams?

Florida Scammer Gets Nine Years for Targetting Seniors

A recent case in Florida highlights the serious nature of these offenses. On January 19th of 2023, it was reported that a Miami man had been sentenced to nine years in prison for a number of scams, including the targeting of senior citizens. Along with his near decade in prison, he was ordered to pay almost $2 million in restitution specifically for the grandparent scams he had committed over the years.

A representative of the FBI stated:

“This is a despicable crime causing fear and emotional turmoil for some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Ulysse used fraud and deceit to prey upon grandparents’ trust and love. The FBI is committed to combatting elder fraud and financial exploitation and ensuring our seniors are protected.”

Over a period of about a year, this defendant carried out the classic grandparent scam: He called victims while posing as a police officer or a lawyer and demanded large sums of cash to bail out their grandchildren. But the victims’ grandchildren were never arrested, and the money went into the pockets of the scammer. The defendant apparently hired an entire team of people to assist with the scam, including people to impersonate children on the phone. Lackies were also hired to pick up parcels containing cash sent by the grandparents.

In total, 83 different victims were targeted — with “earnings” of almost $2.5 million. Five of these victims had their lives destroyed by the financial hardships caused by the scam, according to the FBI. With all that being said, this individual faced numerous charges, as he had also carried out a Covid-19 CARES Act fraud. This means that the sentence would have been shorter if he had solely been carrying out the grandparent scam.

Grandparent Scams Are Rampant in Florida

Despite the defendant being caught and sentenced, there are many other scammers out there who specifically target seniors with identical scams. Recently, it was reported that an elderly couple had lost $25,000 due to one of these scams. These scams have been going on for several years now, and seniors continue to be victimized.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida?

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida, look no further than Trevena Pontrello & Associates. You will receive little sympathy from the courts if you targeted Florida’s elderly population, and this is why it’s so important to get the right legal assistance. With our assistance, you can mitigate your legal consequences as best as possible. Time is of the essence, so book your consultation today.


  1. https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/serial-fraudster-sentenced-nine-years-federal-prison-participating-elder-fraud
  2. https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/florida-couple-loses-grandparents-scam


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