CRIME

Guilty plea made in nationwide scam that capitalized on victims' love for their grandchildren

A New York City man who helped swindle 17 people nationwide out of thousands of dollars by scaring them about their grandchildren has pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Brooklyn resident Allah Justice McQueen admitted picking up money after co-conspirators posing as lawyers or law enforcement officers telephoned victims in 2013. The callers tricked victims by saying a grandchild had been arrested on a drug charge and needed thousands of dollars immediately to avoid prison.

Prosecutors say one 79-year-old victim sent $6,000 for bail after a caller claimed he was a police sergeant.

McQueen entered the guilty plea Monday in federal court to conspiracy and wire fraud charges. A plea agreement recommends less than two years in prison at his Nov. 2 sentencing.