A Canadian man accused of taking part in a scheme to dupe Southland grandparents into believing their grandchildren or other relatives were in danger in foreign countries and immediately required money was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, the FBI announced Friday.
Pascal Goyer, 29, was taken into custody late Thursday afternoon after his flight landed from Mexico, authorities said.
Goyer, whose last known residence was Montreal, is one of a half-dozen people named in a Sept. 25 federal grand jury indictment charging them with wire fraud, attempted wire fraud and aiding and abetting. He was expected to make an initial court appearance later today in downtown Los Angeles.
The 23-count indictment alleges that Goyer and the other five defendants contacted numerous grandparents and falsely represented that money needed to be sent to resolve a relative's purported problem, such as a car accident, in which bail money or repair expenses were immediately needed.
The defendants -- who had no actual association with the relatives -- allegedly instructed the grandparents to use wire transfer services to send money that did not end up going to help their grandchildren or other relatives, according to the indictment.
In some cases, the alleged victims were contacted again to send additional money to fully resolve their relative's problem, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges that wire transfers were sent from alleged victims in six California cities, including Burbank, Canyon Country, Tarzana and Irvine. The transfers involved amounts ranging from $1,000 to nearly $3,000, according to the indictment.
Investigators determined that the alleged victims were identified through mass-produced lead lists that targeted a specific victim demographic, authorities said.
The charges stem from an ongoing joint investigation by multiple agencies in the United States and Canada that participate in Project Colt, a bi- national task force dedicated to combating cross-border and mass marketing fraud, officials said.
Agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.