A 25-year-old Arizona man was sentenced to a four-year suspended prison sentence and 280 days in jail Wednesday for attempting to defraud $80,000 from an elderly Tulare County woman.
James Beckelman-Ibarra was found guilty of attempting to deceive an 82-year-old woman last summer into investing in a fraudulent scam that promised her $8,000 a month for the rest of her life if she invested $80,000 with him up front. Beckelman-Ibarra drove to the woman’s home in Springville after she initially refused to invest until meeting him in person.
On July 16, 2014, the man drove from Arizona to Springville, east of Porterville. When the defendant arrived at the victim’s home, he took her to a Bank of Sierra to withdraw money. A teller who knew the woman for several years sensed something was off and asked Beckelman-Ibarra for ID and a business card. After being unable to produce either, the man left immediately with the victim in his rented Porsche.
The teller alerted authorities soon after. Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Beckelman-Ibarra on the run and found him in possession of two crumpled-up checks for $35,000 and $45,000 signed by the victim and made to the fraudulent business.
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The victim didn’t lose any money. Beckelman-Ibarra will also serve five years of felony probation and enroll in a theft intervention program after being found guilty of robbery and financial elder abuse.
The Porterville Police Department led the investigation.