KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The formal charges of the three suspects involved in the “grandparent” phone scam which targeted East Tennesseans in multiple counties have been announced and their identities have been released.
Jaquan Wright, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, Brittany Carson, 27, of Englewood, New Jersey and Stephanie Valeriano, 28, of Lawrence, Massachusetts are charged with 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 charges on Wright.
“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 Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider.
According to investigators, they were traveling into East Tennessee to target their victims. A release from the sheriff’s office state the scam was targeted at elderly community members, causing them to believe their grandchildren had been arrested and were in need of immediate bail money for their release.