Loudon County authorities arrested three suspects involved in a “grandparent phone scam.” They reportedly were targeting elderly citizens by causing them to believe their grandchildren had been arrested and were in need of immediate bail money for their release.
“These individuals were very methodical in researching their victims information to the point that they knew children and grandchildren names. This and the fact that they came to their victim’s homes to collect this money is extremely concerning to us,” said Sheriff Tim Guider. “We are hopeful that this case, and the information we are releasing, will help educate our residents and prevent any further opportunities like this for the criminals that pursue them.”
Those charged are all out-of-state residents and were traveling into East Tennessee to target their victims. Law enforcement says 31-year-old Jaquan Wright of Brooklyn, New York, 27-year-old Brittany Carson of Englewood, New Jersey and 28-year-old Stephanie Valeriano of Lawrence, Massachusetts are each charged with felony financial exploitation of an elder or vulnerable person, with additional warrants for theft and conspiracy pending. Wright was also charged with criminal impersonation.
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office has also filed similar charges on Wright, who remains in custody at the Loudon County Detention Facility. Blount County placed a hold on Wright, and he will be transferred to the Blount County Correctional Facility to face his charges there as soon as his case is adjudicated in Loudon County.