Man pleads guilty in scheme targeting elderly Americans, some in Virginia


FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington, D.C. An internet firm is ending the automated registration of website names that include words or phrases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an attempt to combat coronavirus-related fraud. Los Angeles-based Namecheap Inc. made the pledge after a federal judge in Texas on Sunday, March 22, 2020, ordered the takedown of a website the U.S. Department of Justice accused of stealing credit card information while offering fake coronavirus vaccine kits. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Georgia man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a $1.7 million investment scheme, which targeted several victims, including some in Virginia.

According to court documents, Mark H. Loewen, 58, of Atlanta, was the President of World Wide Carbon, LLC (WWC), a business based in Atlanta that claimed to sell investments related to carbon offset credits for profit. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia says Loewen and his co-conspirators misled investors regarding WWC’s use of investor funds, return on investment, and risks of the carbon offset credit involvement.

According to a Tuesday release, in total, seven victims, including some who were elderly, financed $1,749,990 in WWC investments.

Authorities say Loewen is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2021. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) says combating elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority. According to a release, elder abuse crimes affect at least 10 percent of older Americans every year.

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