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Conman sentenced for stealing $150K from Kalispell resident

by DERRICK PERKINS
Hagadone News Network | December 27, 2023 1:00 AM

A Florida man who admitted to bilking a Kalispell woman out of $150,000 through a computer hacking scheme was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to two years and nine months in prison. 

U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy, who presided over the case, also ordered Eddly Joseph, 44, of Gainsville, Florida to pay about $1.23 million in restitution to seven victims and undergo two years of supervised release following his prison stint. Joseph pleaded guilty to wire fraud in August. 

“Far too often, these internationally-based fraud schemes result in no accountability for those who prey on Montanans. But not this time,” said U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich. “Due to the diligent work of the FBI, Joseph was caught and is now going to federal prison for running a predatory scheme by tricking and stealing from elderly victims across the country, including a Kalispell woman.”

Authorities began investigating the India-based hacking scheme after receiving a tip from Glacier Bank, according to court documents. The fraudsters allegedly tricked the Kalispell woman into believing a computer virus had given criminals access to her bank accounts and directed her to give them $150,000 for safekeeping.

Investigators estimated that Joseph and his compatriots had scammed other victims across the country to the tune of $1,236,470. 

To catch Joseph, the FBI employed a ruse, tricking the conmen into thinking the Kalispell victim had another $50,000 to give them, court documents said. When Joseph and several associates arrived to collect the money, agents arrested them. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon prosecuted the case. The FBI collaborated with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.