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Officials say three men plead guilty to defrauding older people over $ 350,000 for "grandparent fraud"

(CNN)Authorities described it as a "grandparent fraud" on Tuesday, causing three men to be older than $ 350,000 in Rhode Island. He pleaded guilty to fraudulent 14 people.

"There is little more scary than thinking that your family is in trouble," US lawyer Zachary A. Cunha said in anews release. "These defendants stole from their beloved grandparents and used their fears to line up their pockets."

Brian Valdes Espinosa (22), Diego A. Alarcon (22) ), Jason Hatcher, 40, appeared before a federal judge in Providence and admitted that he had participated in the fraud, Cunha said.

Hatcher's attorney Kara Hoopis Manosh and Valdez-Espinosa's attorney Kevin Fitzgerald declined to comment in a separate email to CNN.

Alarcon's lawyer Melissa Larsen told CNN that her client "has full responsibility for his role in this project, which sacrificed our venerable seniors. I'm one of many. "

"He deeply regrets his criminal activity, and after serving a potentially long sentence in a federal detention facility, he leads a life of obedience to the law. I'm confident, "Larsen said in writing. ..

'Fake bail payments'

According to the release, victims between the ages of 79 and 94 were people impersonating family members and lawyers. I was contacted by. US law firm.

The caller mistakenly told the victim that his loved one, generally his grandson, was arrested after being involved in a car accident and needed cash bail. " The caller then instructed the courier to return home and collect it for "fake bail" to collect cash, Release said.

Fraudsters have tricked victims between $ 9,500 and $ 85,000, the release said.

In one case, the release said the family intervened and led the police to Valdez-Espinosa, who worked as a courier.

According to prosecutors, Valdes Espinosa and Alarcon from Union City, NJ, admitted to traveling with Hatcher to New England in June 2021 to participate in the fraud.

New York City Hatcher pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to commit the wire fraud and exacerbated the theft of personal information, while Alarcon and Valdes Espinosa pleaded guilty to the plot to commit the wire fraud.

The trio will be sentenced on October 11 after a federal judge has decided on a sentence.