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DENVER – Akihiko Siegfried, 55, formerly of Denver, was sentenced on Wednesday to more than five years in prison for defrauding an elderly man of his life savings.
Siegfried was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer to pay more than $512,000 in restitution to the victim.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, beginning in or about early 2008 and continuing until in or about April 2013, Siegfried devised a scheme to defraud the victim, an 89-year-old widower of Japanese American heritage. In early 2008, Siegfried knocked on the door of the victim’s residence and when the door opened Siegfried pretended to be distraught and was crying. Siegfried falsely told the victim that Siegfried’s parents had just died in a car crash and that he had no money and no family to turn to for help. Siegfried asked to borrow money.
Siegfried borrowed from the victim several times and in the middle of 2008 falsely told the victim he would inherit substantial money as a result of his parents’ death but that it would be tied up in probate for some time and he needed money to pay the associated fees and taxes. From early 2008 through April 2013, Siegfried pretended to have great affection for the victim, repeatedly telling him “I love you.”
From March 2009 through March 2013, Siegfried frequently spent time as an inmate in the Colorado Department of Corrections. When he was in jail during that time frame, he repeatedly called and sent letters through the mail asking for money, directing the victim to deposit and wire transfer money to Siegfried’s inmate account with the Department of Corrections. Siegfried told the victim he needed the money because he was required to pay for his diabetes medicine while he was in jail and because he needed to pay more probate fees and taxes for his purported inheritance.
In October 2012, when Siegfried was released from prison, he received a check payable to himself in the amount of $49,655.30 from the Department of Corrections. At least $10,000 of this money was proceeds of the fraud scheme involving the elderly victim.
Siegfried will be transferred to a Bureau of Prisons facility to serve his sentence.
In this case, the defendant targeted his victim not only because he was a senior, but by manipulating his victim’s Japanese American heritage, said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “By that cold, calculating manipulation, the defendant stole a lifetime of savings. The lengthy prison sentence handed down by Judge Brimmer was appropriate and just.”
“We hear all too often of elderly victims robbed of their life’s savings,” said Stephen Boyd, special agent in charge for IRS criminal investigation, Denver Field Office. “Let this sentencing be a reminder, those who prey on elderly victims will be put in jail.”
“The FBI is confident the outcome of this case will deter future con-artists who seek to get rich by preying on elderly victims,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas P. Ravenelle.