Las Vegas woman sentenced to prison in elder fraud conspiracy

A judge's gavel, with the scales of justice in the background
Gavel Photo credit Michal Chodyra/Getty Images

Las Vegas, NV (AP) — A 38-year-old Las Vegas woman has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison after she was convicted in New York in an elder fraud conspiracy targeting about 7,500 victims and generating about $10 million in proceeds.

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Federal prosecutors say Romana Leyva was a leader of a fraud conspiracy that exploited elderly victims by remotely accessing their computers and convincing them to pay for computer services.

The pop-up windows that appeared on victims screens falsely claimed that a virus had infected their computers, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. He said some victims paid thousands of dollars for the promised computer services, which they didn’t really need, and never were actually provided.

Leyva pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to intentionally damage victims’ computers.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty sentenced her on Friday in federal court in New York. In addition to the 100-month prison sentence, she was ordered to forfeit nearly $4.7 million and pay more than $2.7 million in restitution.

“Today’s sentence sends a clear message: Those who exploit the vulnerable for financial gain will pay a heavy price,” Williams said.