A Logan man is accused in an elder fraud case that cost a woman in her 80s a half-million dollars.
Prosecutors say 66-year-old Thomas Fairbanks got the woman to invest $40,000 in his fake business called SupplyLine. Then, US Attorney for Utah John Huber says Fairbanks convinced the woman to open a joint checking account.
“The allegation is he diverted 460,000 from that account he had a name on, and he was supposed to be helping her with,” Huber said.
The victim is in her 80s, unmarried, with no children.
“Over a half-million dollars for a little, vulnerable lady,” Huber said. “This is a big priority for the Department of Justice nationwide. Our elder fraud initiative — we want to take care of those who in our community who we should be revering and not defrauding.”
Fairbanks is also accused of defrauding other investors with SupplyLine as well. In all, he faces a five-count indictment in federal court. He’s due to appear in court on those charges Dec. 5. If convicted, Huber says he would face up to 20 years in prison.
“Of course that’s up to the judge, and there are a lot of factors that go into that decision,” he said.
Huber says older adults are more vulnerable to fraud because they are trusting, they answer the phone, and they are polite. He suggests they simply say, “No thank you,” when first presented with any financial scheme.
The Utah Division of Securities and FBI special agents investigated the case.
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