By SDCN Staff
San Diego, CA–Two more people were sentenced in federal court for participating in a large-scale “grandparent scam” racketeering conspiracy.
Anajah Gifford, 24, of North Hollywood, California, received a sentence of 57 months in custody. Tracy Glinton, 35, of Orlando, Florida, was sentenced to time served. According to court documents, the defendants participated in a criminal enterprise that engaged in extortion and fraud to swindle more than $2 million from 70-plus elderly victims across the nation. At least 10 elderly victims who resided in San Diego County lost over $300,000 to the fraud.
From approximately November 1, 2019, until October 14, 2020, the members of the criminal enterprise targeted elderly Americans, contacting them by phone and feeding them phony stories that their grandchildren were in legal trouble and needed money to pay for bail, pay medical expenses for car accident victims, or prevent additional charges from being filed. Members of the conspiracy and their associates obtained money from victims through in-person cash pick-ups, by mail or commercial carriers, or via wire transfers. Conspirators laundered the proceeds by transferring the funds or converting from fiat currency to cryptocurrency.
As part of her plea agreement, defendant Anajah Gifford admitted that she personally conducted cash pick-ups from victims under codefendant Timothy Ingram’s direction, and helped Ingram pay unlawful proceeds to codefendant Tracy Knowles. Gifford, personally and with co-defendant Ingram, also recruited and coordinated money mules in California. As part of her sentence, Gifford was ordered to forfeit $52,750 in proceeds she personally received from the offense and to pay $1,235,406.93 to the victims in restitution.
According to court documents, defendant Tracy Glinton’s primary role was to help codefendant Tracy Knowles receive proceeds from coconspirators who obtained victim funds. In her plea agreement, Glinton admitted that she knew the money she received constituted proceeds of grandparent scams. As part of her sentence, Glinton was ordered to forfeit $9,950 in proceeds she personally received from the offense, and to pay $471,600 to the victims in restitution. Ingram was previously sentenced to 108 months; Knowles remains at large.
“The defendants were members of a particularly sophisticated grandparent scam enterprise that callously and shamelessly targeted the elderly across our country,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Today’s sentencings hold the defendants accountable not only for the financial losses but also the deep and long-lasting psychological damage their crimes can cause their victims.”
“Because seniors are a particularly vulnerable victim group and are often specifically targeted for financial fraud crimes, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have prioritized our efforts to address elder fraud,” said Stacey Moy, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Diego Division. “Using such deceitful tactics bilk hard-earned money from aging victims – leaving so many financially devasted in their retirement years without recourse for recovery. We encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud or know a senior who may be, regardless of financial loss, to immediately report the incident to the FBI or another law enforcement agency.”
As of today, six of the eight defendants charged in the case have pleaded guilty. Two defendants are fugitives and remain at large.