Public Safety

Dubuque area man sentenced to four years for fraud scheme involving 250 victims

Must pay over $26,000 in victim restitution

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Zwingle man who was part of a fraud that bilked more than 250 elderly people across the United States was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to nearly five years in prison.

Cody Richey, 27, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in February to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court. Evidence during sentencing and previous hearings in related cases shows Richey was involved in a scheme to defraud victims, who were generally elderly, around the country in 2015 and 2016.

In a plea agreement, Richey admitted that while he never made calls to victims, other individuals involved in the scheme called victims on the phone and told them that a relative was in jail. The victims would be asked to wire money through Western Union or Money Gram to get the relative released.

Richey also admitted the money was being wired to various participants in the fraud who would pick up the wire transfers, according to the plea. He received wire transfers from the victims and then sent the money overseas to the Dominican Republic.

These 250 victims across the country lost more than $750,000 as a result of the fraud. There have been 10 others sentenced in this case for their roles in the scheme.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade sentenced Richey to 57 months in prison and also ordered him to pay more than $26,000 in restitution. He also will serve three years of supervised release following the prison term.

The prosecution is part of the Elder Justice Initiative of the Department of Justice. In June 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa was selected as one of 10 districts in the nation to form an Elder Justice Task Force.

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