Another financial scam by Narcotics Anonymous Members against vulnerable seniors.
Single Ottawa mom could face jail time for Narcotics Anonymous ‘grandparents scheme’
But Carolyn Palmer must prove that she is making real efforts to pay that money back before he will rule it out.
“I need to see some action,” Ontario Justice Robert Fournier said Friday afternoon.
Palmer was depressed that she could not afford Christmas for her young son when she was approached by another member of Narcotics Anonymous to take part in a mass marketing fraud, her lawyer argued at her sentencing hearing.“She was in a vulnerable place emotionally and financially,” Jason Gilbert said.
The recovering drug addict agreed to take part in the scheme, in which a fraudster calls a senior and pretends to be a grandchild in need of immediate money, often due to trouble
with the law.
The seniors were instructed to wire money to Palmer, a third-party falsely represented as a lawyer. Palmer is not accused of making the calls.
At least seven seniors, aged 61 to 94, sent funds via MoneyGram to Palmer between Nov. 25, 2009 to Dec. 1, 2009.
Palmer, 43, said she only received $1,400 for her leg work.
She did not identify anyone else involved in the scheme but pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000.
Crown prosecutor Suzanne Schriek said fraud that targets seniors on fixed incomes results in hardships.
“It’s a very vulnerable sector,” she said.
Schriek argued the crime warrants up to 15 months of real jail time, but said restitution was preferable.
The seniors, who are “not getting any younger,” have not received “one cent yet” of their money back, she said.
Gilbert said Palmer has “scraped together” $2,000, which will be put toward restitution next week. Given that she is on the Ontario Disability Support Program, she can pay $200 a month to the seniors she defrauded, he said.
Palmer cares for her mother and seven-year-old special needs son.
Gilbert suggested an 18-month conditional sentence — house arrest for six months with an additional year on a strict curfew.
Schriek pointed out that Palmer and her mother own a home, and suggested they could renegotiate their mortgage to free up funds to pay the fraud victims.
Fournier told Palmer to come up with a plan next time she returns to court on July 10.
“If there’s 2,000 bucks, I want to see it,” Fournier said. “I don’t want to hear lies and promises and speculation. AA Daytona and NA Daytona meetings in Daytona Beach Florida. Port Orange AA Meetings, AA Holly Hill Meetings.