Pop Goes The News — A Montreal man is in custody at a federal detention centre in Miami accused of ripping off elderly people of millions of dollars.
Stephan Moskwyn, 33, of Montreal is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.
Moskwyn was arrested at Miami International Airport last Tuesday on a stopover from Dominican Republic.
According to prosecutors, Moskwyn operated a telephone scam based in Canada in which accomplices called elderly residents of the U.S. and posed as relatives in desperate need of cash. Victims were instructed to send money via virtual money orders.
Last year, U.S. Homeland Security identified Moskwyn as the suspected ring leader thanks to two cooperating witnesses who communicated with him via text and converted more than $833,000 U.S. into Bitcoin.
In February, Moskwyn was caught on CCTV at a Florida grocery store using a pre-paid debit card loaded with illicit funds, according to prosecutors.
He flew to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic in March — not long after an alleged accomplice in Puerto Plata was arrested with more than $60,000 U.S. cash.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Moskwyn’s alleged scam “exploited the kindness and trust of elderly American citizens by convincing them that loved ones were in trouble and needed money.”
Moskwyn’s paternal grandfather reportedly died in Montreal in 2001 and his grandmother died in 2008.
If convicted, Moskwyn could spend up to 30 years in a U.S. federal prison.
In August 2011, drug enforcement agents in the Dominican Republic raided a home and arrested Moskwyn with $53,700 U.S. and $130 CAD cash as well as 2.1 grams of cocaine.
The outcome of that case is not known.