Colorado man gets 63 months in prison for defrauding elderly victim


(Photo: Colorado Department of Corrections)

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DENVER — Akihiko Siegfried was handed a 63-month sentence in federal prison Wednesday for mail fraud and money laundering.

Siegfried, 55 and formerly of Denver, will also serve a three-year supervised release after serving his term. He also must pay $512,342 in restitution in a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer.

Siegfried pleaded guilty in October that he conned an elderly man out of $400,000 in a scheme that lasted five years.

Siegfried met the victim, an 89-year-old man of Japanese descent, when he knocked on his door in January 2008, saying his parents died in a car crash and he had no money or family to help.

The victim “felt sorry for Siegfried and, in part because of their shared Japanese heritage, decided to help Siegfried,” U.S. Justice Department spokesman Jeff Dorschner said.

Siegfried continued taking advantage of the elderly man, including lying that he would inherit a lot of money because of his parents’ death but that the money was in probate and Siegfried needed more money to pay taxes and fees to get the inheritance.

But there was no inheritance as Siegfried’s father had died in the 1990s and his mother in 2002.

In 2009, Siegfried was jailed, but he continued to con the elderly man.

“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 Colorado Department of Corrections,” Dorschner said.

After being released from prison, Siegfried received a check payable to himself for $49,655.30 from the Department of Corrections, Dorschner said. At least $10,000 was proceeds of the fraud scheme.

Siegfried then was investigated for the fraud.

“In this case, the defendant targeted his victim not only because he was a senior, but by manipulating his victim’s Japanese-American heritage,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said.  “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.”

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