Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

October 6, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Maryland Woman Out Over $17,000

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today the indictment by the Harford County Grand Jury of three Canadian citizens. Todd Monaghan, 20, Patrice Guery, 19, and Michel Rivard, 20, all residents of the Province of Quebec, Canada, were each indicted on several counts of felony theft and one count of conspiracy to commit felony theft. Together, the indictments charge these individuals with stealing over $17,000 from Maryland resident, Ms. Louise H. Lynch.

Monaghan, Guery, and Rivard have also been charged by federal authorities in Kansas with multiple counts of wire fraud, that indictment, which names different victims than Curranís charges, summarizes the defendantsí alleged scheme.

The defendants used either cloned or stolen cellular telephones to contact elderly citizens in the United States. The elderly victims were told that they had won a large sum of money or were entitled to funds from a lottery. The victims were informed, however, that they had to first send money to Canada for taxes or fees in order to receive their winnings. The elderly victims were then instructed to send money by wire transfer such as Western Union or Moneygram. Once the victims sent money, they were contacted repeatedly by the defendants requesting more money from the victims in order to obtain the "prize" money from Canada. As a result of the defendantsí fraudulent scheme, elderly victims in the United States were defrauded out of approximately $171,000.

"Wherever I go, I hear stories from people whose elderly loved ones have been contacted by phone or by mail that they have won a lottery and that they must mail or wire money in order to receive it," Attorney General Curran said. "If it sounds too good to be true, it is. There are people out there looking for easy targets and the elderly are often first on their list."

If convicted, each defendant could be sentenced to up to 15 years imprisonment on each count. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.