Leonard C Boyle, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DOUGLAS SENERTH, 32, of South Windsor, pleaded guilty today in New Haven federal court to a fraud offense related to his theft of approximately $679,000 from his grandparents.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2011 and 2019, Senerth defrauded his grandmother and his late grandfather by falsely claiming to be a college student and inducing them to give him approximately $419,000 to pay for nonexistent college tuition and other related expenses, and an additional approximately $260,000 by falsely claiming that he would invest their money into an investment fund run by one of his nonexistent professors. As part of the scheme, Senerth created fraudulent college transcripts, letters and email accounts that he used to corroborate his lies.
Senerth has been detained in state custody since February 10, 2021, when he was arrested on unrelated charges.
Senerth pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford on May 17, 2022.
Senerth has agreed to pay restitution of $679,944.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Cherry.
The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. The Hotline is staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers. Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed. When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller. The Hotline’s toll-free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311). For more information, please visit: https://ovc.ojp.gov/program/stop-elder-fraud/providing-help-restoring-hope.