A Florida man accused of bilking or trying to defraud at least four elderly Maine residents out of thousands of dollars last year made his first court appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Pedro Sanchez, 28, of Orlando is charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit wire fraud. He allegedly promised some seniors free medical prescriptions for the rest of their lives in exchange for a payment and persuaded another to spend more than $10,000 on gift cards.
Sanchez was not asked to enter pleas to the charges because he has not yet been indicted by a federal grand jury.
He was arrested June 5 in Florida and released on personal recognizance bail with conditions that he only travel outside of Florida to Maine for court appearances.
How Sanchez came to the attention of law enforcement is not spelled out in federal prosecutors’ complaint against him.
One 82-year-old victim spent more than $10,300 on gift cards after Sanchez allegedly told her he was with the Brunswick police and that she owed the department thousands of dollars. The funds from those gift cards were distributed to a variety of accounts and credit cards, the complaint said.
During February 2018, five deposits totaling more than $45,335 were made to Sanchez’s Bank of America account from Payliance, a third-party payment processor, according to the complaint.
It is not clear whether all the deposits were from victims in Maine or not. Sanchez withdrew the money in a series of large cash withdrawals, the complaint said.
Sanchez also scammed or tried to scam three other elderly Maine residents by telling them they would receive free medical prescriptions for the rest of their lives if they paid $379, the complaint said. In several instances, Sanchez had the victims’ bank account numbers.
The scope of Sanchez’ alleged fraud appears to go beyond Maine and involve many more victims.
The complaint said that between Feb. 2 and 28, 2018, Sanchez submitted about 745 transaction requests totaling nearly $283,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCormack declined to comment on the case.
If convicted, Sanchez faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also could be ordered to pay restitution.