NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a nationwide elder fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Duane Evans said 53-year-old Christopher Keel was sentenced by a judge to 125 months in prison on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Court documents state Keel was arrested in Tangipahoa Parish on April 4, 2022, during an attempt to defraud a 77-year-old woman.

According to the records, deputies were alerted by the woman’s son that someone was contacting her pretending to be an agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The fake agents told the woman she should withdraw money from her bank accounts and give it to them because “her accounts had been allegedly implicated in fraud or money laundering.”

In March 2022, the woman reportedly transferred the people posing as agents about $60,000 through prepaid credit cards.

She was then advised to give $60,000 to Keel on April 3. The woman then met Keel at a Hammond mall to transfer the money to him.

The next day, she was advised by the people posing as agents to withdraw the rest of the money left in her account and give it to another agent.

The woman’s bank then called her son, who called the police.

According to court documents, deputies set up a sting operation and arrested Keel.

During an investigation, Evans said Homeland Security Investigations agents discovered a second victim targeted by Keel and others, who was defrauded of $300,000.

Through a search of Keel’s phone, detectives said they found a photo of a box with the victim’s name and address used to give the money to another fake agent she met with in Tukwila, Washington.

HSI agents also found a third victim, an 80-year-old woman from Bossier Parish. They said she had withdrawn $36,000 from her account after she received a call from people posing as agents telling her that her accounts were compromised.

Evans said police were called before she could deliver the money and waited outside her home, where they noticed a car circle nearby before leaving.

HSI agents said the car was found to be connected to a person involved in the fraud scheme.

Evans said the search of Keel’s phone also revealed he had been in contact with other conspirators since 2021 and had traveled to other states as part of the scheme.

Through an investigation, it was found that Keel and the others involved in the scheme caused about $4,498,327 in losses to 31 victims across the nation.

Keel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 125 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 36 months in prison and a year of supervised release for false impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States.

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