U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Rhode Island Man Sentenced for Scamming Seniors Following HSI Investigation

Rhode Island Man Sentenced for Scamming Seniors Following HSI Investigation

Release Date: May 6, 2024

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Providence man described in court documents as having played a key role in a “grandparent scheme” investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New England that financially victimized more than a dozen senior citizens in Rhode Island and Massachusetts was sentenced on May 3 to 12 months and one day in federal prison; ordered to pay restitution to his victims; and ordered to perform community service after serving his prison sentence by speaking to senior citizen groups and organizations about his criminal conduct and ways they can avoid being victimized.

Vidal Roquez, 39, previously admitted to the court that he personally visited the homes of grandparent scam victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to collect cash from them after they had been convinced by other members of the conspiracy that a relative — usually a child or grandchild — had been arrested and that the money was urgently needed for bail. Some of the victims were told that a “gag order” was in place on their relative’s legal matter and that they were prohibited from sharing information with anyone else.

The investigation identified 13 seniors that were victimized by Roquez. Victims were defrauded of amounts ranging from $9,000 to $18,000 over a two-month time span. Little Compton Police arrested a co-conspirator of Roquez, which led HSI special agents in Rhode Island to identify and subsequently arrest Roquez on federal violations.

Roquez pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2023, to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was sentenced on May 2 by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to one year and one day of incarceration; three years of supervised release; 60 hours of community service by meeting with senior citizen organizations and groups, during which he is to describe his and his co-conspirators criminal conduct and to discuss ways seniors can protect themselves from being victimized; and to pay a total of $130,300 in restitution to his victims.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise M. Barton.

The matter was investigated by HSI with assistance from the Warwick, Little Compton, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Cranston and South Kingstown Police Departments; the Shrewsbury, Northborough and Weston Police Departments; and the Rhode Island Fusion Center.

If you or someone you know is a victim of elder fraud, call the HSI tip line at 877-4-HSI-TIP or the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11.

Last Updated: 05/07/2024
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content