TALLAHASSEE, Fla.––Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of two individuals, and the arrest warrant for a third person, for involvement in an organized fraud scheme targeting mostly older Hispanic citizens. The two defendants in custody, Jhon Figueroa, 52, of Orlando, and Siomara Jimenez, 48, of Kissimmee, are charged with 35 combined charges. The third defendant, Marino Jimenez Quintana, 48, of Kissimmee, has an active warrant for arrest on 13 separate charges.
“These charges are despicable. That anyone would prey on seniors to steal their hard-earned money is outrageous. My Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute these defendants to the fullest extent of the law and I want to thank Sheriff Chad Chronister and the great men and women at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for their work to fight fraud and protect seniors,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Following a three-month-long investigation, HCSO detectives uncovered a complex fraudulent scheme that targeted mostly Hispanic citizens in their 60s to 80s in grocery store parking lots conning victims out of money and valuables. The criminals defrauded the victims to the tune of more than $152,000 in cash and $34,000 in jewelry throughout Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties.
The defendants tried to convince the victims they won a winning Lotto ticket that could not be cashed because of illegal citizenship status. As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly then placed a telephone call in front of the victims to someone pretending to be with the Florida Lottery, where the victims received instructions on how to redeem the winning ticket. In order to redeem the ticket, the predators instructed the victims to provide collateral. The defendants went as far as driving the victims to the bank to remove anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000 in cash or requested jewelry as insurance for the hoax.
The three defendants face the following charges:
· Three counts of crimes against persons/exploitation of elderly;
· One false imprisonment charge;
· Three counts of grand theft;
· Two RICO violations;
· One count to scheme/defraud and property valued more than $50,000; and
· One count of theft from persons 65 years of age or older.
The Attorney General’s Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Rita Peters will prosecute the case.