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March 28, 2014

Canadian sentenced for scamming seniors

ALBANY — A Quebec man who used a Plattsburgh bank account for a scam has been sentenced to prison.

Jason S. Katz, 47, was sentenced this week by U.S. Judge Mae A. D’Agostino to 30 months in prison.

He was also fined $10,000 and required to pay restitution of $8,000 to two victims, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian and Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Nicholas DiNicola.

Katz pleaded guilty Sept. 27, 2013, to two counts of wire fraud.

According to the plea agreement, between May and August 2012, Katz was involved in an international telemarketing scheme targeting elderly people.

The victims, ages 95 and 86 at the time, were repeatedly solicited over the telephone and instructed to wire tens of thousands of dollars to Katz’s bank account in Plattsburgh.

The victims were told the money would be used to help arrange for the release of their child or grandchild from a Mexican jail and to pay fines associated with traffic accidents.

At times, Katz impersonated the victim’s child or grandchild, authorities said.

Katz was in Europe on a cruise in July 2012 when one of the victims wired him $42,000 under the belief that the funds would be used to help procure the release of her grandson from a jail in Mexico.

D’Agostino described the fraud as “despicable.”

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Columbia Township Police Department in Brooklyn, Michigan, and the Waterloo Police Department.

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

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