LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 76-year-old Las Vegas man is charged in a 20-count federal indictment for allegedly using fraudulent checks to steal money from victims’ bank accounts. Most of the victims were older people, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada.
Michael Zeto is facing charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Zeto partnered with foreign telemarketers who provided him with the names, bank account numbers and other personal information of American consumers who supposedly had purchased products but the consumers — in most cases — never agreed to the purchase and never agreed to have anyone debit their bank accounts.
Authorities said Zeto knew the sales were fraudulent yet he created fraudulent checks payable to companies he controlled and opened bank accounts so he could deposit the checks — “thereby taking and attempting to take millions of dollars from victims’ accounts.”
If convicted, Zeto could spend the remainder of his life in prison. Bank fraud alone carries a 30-year prison term and wire fraud carries a 20-year term.
“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in society,” said Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group.
The U.S. Postal Service is also investigating the case.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).