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Trio indicted on federal wire fraud, conspiracy charges after senior citizen scam

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Three people who allegedly scammed senior citizens of more than $60,000 in just one week have been indicted on federal wire fraud and conspiracy charges, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin reports.

Named in the 12-count indictment, unsealed Monday, were Kacey K. Moise, 38, of Elmont, N.Y.; Charnita E. Ryland, 21, of Montgomery, MD.; and Sheray J. McKay, 21, of Suitland, Md.

The indictment states the trio preyed on 18 elderly individuals ranging in age from 70 to 95, posing as family members and members of the clergy. After establishing a relationship with their victims, the indictment alleges they would claim to be facing a financial emergency and asked the victims to wire them money to get out of jail, hire attorneys and make restitution. It said the callers then provided specific instructions for wiring the requested funds, including how much and where to send the wire transfers.

The indictment alleges the elderly individuals were pressured into making multiple wire transfers despite having limited funds at their disposal. The defendants picked up the funds from the wire transfers in Maryland and New York, it said.

Goodwin points out an indictment is not a presumption of guilt, and the case against the three must be proven in court.

He said several of the alleged victims are from West Virginia.

"Scams to steal from older West Virginians are downright shameful," Goodwin said. "Protecting our state's senior citizens is one of my top priorities, and in 2014, we're going to work harder than ever to catch criminals who cheat seniors."

Ryland and McKay, arrested in Maryland in December 2013, are scheduled to be arraigned this week by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwayne L. Tinsley. Moise, arrested Monday in New York, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 23.

Each faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Goodwin has visited more than 20 senior center locations to offer tips on how seniors can protect themselves in their homes and help them avoid financial scams. Information about that program is available at www.justice.gov/usao/wvs/safe-seniors.html.