Pittsburgh, PA- (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com)– Two Las Vegas men have been found guilty by a Pennsylvania jury for running a scheme to defraud elderly residents of large amounts of cash.
According to United States Attorney for the Western District of PA Eric G. Olshan, Roderick Feurtado, 56, and Tarek Bouanane, 47, both of Las Vegas, Nevada were convicted after a five-day trial of traveling to the Pittsburgh area in September, 2021 to run a scheme to defraud elderly residents.
Feurtado and Bouanane’s scheme consisted of contacted victims and claiming to be a family member, usually a grandchild, that had been arrested and needed bail money. They would then encourage victims to take out large amounts of cash and deliver it to one of their couriers who would visit their homes.
Bouanane acted as a courier while Feurtado was the “safehouse” who gave directions to couriers and collected money from them. The two would then keep a portion of the money acquired before distributing it to the other conspirators in different ways including cryptocurrency.
Pennsylvania State Police were able seize about $220,000 from the defendants during the investigation, those involved in the scheme are said to be responsible for at least $250,000 in total losses across western PA and elsewhere.
“The evidence in this case showed that Bouanane and Feurtado participated in a sophisticated scheme that preyed on elderly victims who were tricked into handing over thousands of dollars in cash because they thought they were helping a loved one who was in trouble,” said U.S. Attorney Olshan. “The jury’s quick verdict provides a measure of justice for the victims in this case and should serve as a reminder that our office and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold accountable those who would victimize the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
Bouanane and Feurtado now face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey R. Bengel and Michael R. Ball prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
The Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Pennsylvania State Police, and Bethel Park Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the convictions in this case.