By Team

BALTIMORE (CBSMiami/AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged two Florida men and a Baltimore woman for allegedly engaging in a “grandparent fraud” scheme that scammed at least 70 elderly people out of more than $1.5 million.

Authorities said three defendants duped their victims into believing that a grandchild or other relative needed money for bail, legal fees or other expenses.

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An indictment unsealed on Friday charged Medard Ulysse, 37, of Miami; Eghosasere Avboraye-Igbinedion, 26, of Miramar, Florida; and Amaya English, 21, of Baltimore; with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

“By preying on the grandparents’ love for their family and then stealing their retirement savings, these defendants allegedly victimized them twice,” acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner said in a statement.

Ulysse surrendered to authorities on Friday. Avboraye-Igbinedion and English were arrested on Wednesday.

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Two other people already have pleaded guilty to related charges that they defrauded more than 28 elderly victims of more than $939,000. David Green, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida; and McArnold Charlemagne, 33, of Miramar, Florida; are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 29.

The people who participated in the scheme allegedly posed as police officers or lawyers when they called elderly people across the U.S. and told them that a relative needed cash to get out of jail or pay for legal fees.

“Once the victims did send money, the conspirators called the victims asking for more cash, regularly obtaining tens of thousands of dollars from the retirement savings of victims,” Lenzner’s office said in a news release.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Team