SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Shreveport woman has pleaded guilty for her role in an elder fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas.
Monica Ruiz, 45, pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Wednesday, March 24, before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.
“Schemes that target elderly victims are particularly troubling,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Ruiz manipulated a vulnerable victim, exploited his trust, and stole much of his hard-earned life savings. Protecting senior citizens from exploitation has been, and will remain, a priority in the Eastern District.”
According to information presented in court, Ruiz enlisted a variety of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises in a scheme to defraud an elderly victim from Bullard, Texas.
The following is a list of misrepresentations Ruiz made in order to get money from the victim:
- That Ruiz had been in a coma;
- That Ruiz had brain surgery;
- That Ruiz was falsely arrested and imprisoned;
- That Ruiz had bribed a judge and prosecutor;
- That Ruiz’s son died in a car accident in Pennsylvania;
- That Ruiz was in a car accident;
- That Ruiz had a kidney transplant;
- That Ruiz’s daughter was committed to a mental institution;
- That Ruiz was incarcerated; and
- That Ruiz’s grandmother died.
Officials say that at times, Ruiz impersonated other people in communications with the victim. She also created and used false personas in communications with the victim. Over the course of her scheme, Ruiz obtained more than $4.85 million from the victim.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Ruiz with federal violations on Nov. 19, 2020. Under federal statutes, Ruiz faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, please call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.