Sheriff: Suspects scammed elderly victims out of money, valuables

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — After a three-month-long investigation, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested two individuals and obtained an arrest warrant for a third in relation to an organized scam that targeted mostly elderly Hispanic women in an attempt to con them out of money and valuables. 

Jhon Figueroa, Siomara Jimenez, and Marino Jimenez Quintana reportedly defrauded victims out of more than $152,034 in cash and $34,400 in jewelry in 12 separate cases in Hillsborough, Polk and Lake County. 

Ten of those cases originated in Hillsborough County, one was in Polk and one was in Lake. 

Two of the suspects have been arrested and both have bonded out of jail at this time. The third suspect has an active warrant for his arrest with 13 charges pending. 

Figueroa, Jimenez, and Quintana reportedly targeted elderly Hispanic victims in parking lots throughout Florida and told them they had a winning Lotto ticket that could not be cashed in because they were in the country illegally. The suspects would pretend like they were talking on the phone to someone with the Florida Lottery who would tell the victim that the only way to redeem the money was to prove they had cash on hand as a form of collateral. The suspects would then convince the elderly victims to give them collateral to help them out. The suspects drove the victims to their banks where the victims would remove anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000 from their accounts or they would hand over jewelry and cash on hand. 

Jhon Figueroa, 42, of Orlando faces 22 charges including:

  • 6 counts of Theft from Person 65 Years of Age or Older
  • 4 counts of Grand Theft Second Degree
  • 4 counts of Exploitation of an Elderly Person
  • 2 counts of Exploitation of a Disabled Adult
  • 2 counts of RICO Violation
  • Organized Fraud over $50,000
  • 2 counts of Grand Theft Third Degree
  • False Imprisonment

Figueroa was arrested on June 12, 2018, and released on $107,000 bond on June 14, 2018, with a GPS monitor. 

Siomara Jimenez, 52, of Kissimmee faces 13 charges including:

  • 3 counts of Theft from Person 65 Years of Age or Older
  • 2 counts of Grand Theft Second Degree
  • 3 counts of Exploitation of an Elderly Person
  • 2 counts of RICO Violation
  • Organized Fraud over $50,000
  • Grand Theft Third Degree
  • False Imprisonment

Jimenez was arrested on May 24, 2018, and was released on $120,500 bond on June 1, 2018. 

A warrant is out for the arrest of Marino Jimenez Quintana, 48, of Kissimmee. He faces the following charges:

  • 3 counts of Theft from Person 65 Years of Age or Older
  • 3 counts of Crimes against Persons/Exploitation of Elderly
  • 2 counts of RICO Violation
  • Scheme to defraud and property valued $50,000+
  • False Imprisonment
  • 3 counts of Grand Theft

"I plea to you, don't fall victim to this scam, hear this loud and clear, there are people that are going to take advantage of you because of your innocence and because of your big heart," said Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Maria Lebron said she gave them $5,000. She said she will never be the same again because of this, but wanted to share her story so that someone else does not fall for it.

ABC Action News spoke with Lebron in Spanish. We translated. She said, "I haven't recovered. At night, I wake up and I replay it in my mind". 

She also said, "If they don't have sympathy for seniors especially since they are trying to scam them, then they don't know God".

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Florida Attorney General's Office believes there could be more victims. If you believe you are a victim or know someone who could be a victim, please call 911 or the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and report the crime. 

"If you prey on victims especially our seniors, you will be sorry," Florida Attorney General Pat Bondi said.

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