Alleged ringleader in seniors fraud case formally charged in Montreal

A Montreal man recently deported from Italy has been formally charged with crimes related to a fraud scam that targeted seniors.

Patrick Dinucci appeared in front of a judge via video conference on Saturday afternoon. He'd been taken into custody Friday afternoon by the Montreal police, as soon as he landed at Trudeau International Airport.

Dinucci is a dual citizen and moved to Italy in 2015. He was arrested by Italian authorities in May 2016.

Police allege he is the ringleader of a fraud network that bilked about 500 seniors out of $890,000.

Most of the victims were from the greater Montreal area. 

The alleged fraud took place between 2014 and 2016.

The scam defrauded seniors, who received a call from someone pretending to be a relative in legal trouble asking for money.

Cmdr. Juan Vargas, who works with Montreal police's fraud unit, said in one case, an alleged victim lost about $100,000.

"Sometimes the scammer would call and ask for $2,000, then several more times and ask for more, and the victim would keep sending them money," he said.