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2 charged after Alta. seniors targeted in grandparent scam

RCMP seized $7,000 in cash and various amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine during a fraud investigation. (Supplied: Okotoks RCMP) RCMP seized $7,000 in cash and various amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine during a fraud investigation. (Supplied: Okotoks RCMP)
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Two people are facing charges after multiple Alberta seniors were targeted as part of a grandparent scam.

In a news release Tuesday, RCMP said it responded to a fraud complaint on Jan. 11 from a couple in Okotoks, Alta., both 88 years old, who believed someone was trying to defraud them of thousands of dollars.

Police said the couple was contacted online by someone posing as a police officer. They were told that a family member needed help with bail money, which would be picked up at their residence.

Two suspects were located and arrested shortly after. Police searched the scene and found that the suspects were in possession of:

  • $7,000 in cash;
  • A black wig;
  • 239.5 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 56.8 grams of fentanyl; and
  • 11.3 grams of cocaine.

After examining an envelope inside the suspect’s vehicle, RCMP discovered another victim of this crime located in Calgary.

RCMP is making arrangements to return the $7,000 cash to the 88-year-old victim from Calgary.

Following investigation, police have charged a man and a woman.

Jonathon Gardippe, 40, of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., was charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by a crime over $5,000, and three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking relating to methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine.

He is scheduled to appear in court in Okotoks on Feb. 15.

Also charged was Kathryn Kaun, 47, of Calgary. She has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and disguise with intent.

She is scheduled to appear in court in Okotoks on Feb. 9.

RCMP is asking the public to report any similar situations where a grandparent or senior person has been asked to withdraw large amounts of money to pay for a loved one’s release.

These incidents can be reported to the nearest police detachment.

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