Florida Man Pleads Guilty in Senior-Citizen Targeted Scam Case

Eddly Joseph, 43, has admitted to wire fraud after he and a co-defendant stole $150,000 from a Kalispell woman

By Maggie Dresser

A 43-year-old Florida man accused in an India-based computer hacking scheme that stole $150,000 from an elderly Montana woman admitted to fraud in August, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Eddly Joseph, of Gainesville, Florida, on Aug. 21 pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto.

According to court documents, Joseph and co-defendant Sukhdev Vaid of India stole $150,000 from a 73-year-old Kalispell woman in a scam orchestrated by the fraudsters who were part of a large India-based enterprise.

The duo fraudulently tricked victims into believing they had a virus on their computers and that their bank accounts were accessible to hackers. To “safekeep” the victims’ money, Joseph and other individuals involved in the scam would meet the victims and take their cash, records state.

According to documents, the Kalispell victim told investigators that she received a pop-up on her computer that stated she’d been “hacked,” prompting her to call the customer support number. She was then told to withdraw her cash from her bank accounts for safe keeping at the “Fed.”

In March, the victim told the fraudsters she still had $50,000 in cash, which was a ruse set up by the FBI. Joseph and Vaid traveled to Montana to retrieve the money and were arrested upon arrival.

The investigation determined the fraudsters used a remote access connection device to hack the victim’s computer in January.

Vaid has pleaded not guilty to charges pending trial.

Joseph’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20 before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.