From the Baltimore CIty State’s Attorney’s Office
For his involvement in a robbery scheme targeting senior citizens last summer, James Pasco was sentenced this week to 50 years in prison with all but 11 years suspended followed by five years of probation. As a condition of probation, Pasco must repay his victims in full.
“I am dedicated to the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, including our seniors, and I will aggressively prosecute those who choose to prey on our elderly or any others susceptible to exploitation,” State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein said.
During the summer of 2012, Pasco preyed on the city’s elderly community with a plot about unpaid bills. He and allegedly others called various seniors on the phone, posing as representatives of either the government or a local utility company. The victims were behind on their bills and would face eviction if they did not pay cash to a collector who would be coming to their homes, the caller would report. Some of the victims simply paid without immediately recognizing the ruse. In other instances, perpetrators resorted to violence to obtain the money.
Pasco, 29, pled guilty last month to 14 criminal counts—including burglary, robbery, and fraud of a vulnerable adult—for taking part is six separate incidents, which are as follows:
On June 13, a 73-year-old resident in the 1200 block of Glyndon Ave. received a call indicating that she owed back taxes and that a male collector would visit to receive payment.
The victim made the payment but later realized what had happened and filed a report with police.
On July 24, someone broke into a house in the 2400 block of Hudson St., dragged the 78-year-old occupant out of bed and down two flights of stairs, and robbed him of at least $1,000.
On August 11, a 95-year-old woman received the first in a series of related phone calls. She was accused of failing to pay property taxes for 2012. If she didn’t make a payment of $1,906 in cash, she would be evicted, the caller warned. The victim said she could not produce the entire sum in so short of a time, adding that she had roughly $1,000 in her house.
Some time later, a man entered her unlocked front door, assaulted her, and demanded the money. The victim directed him to the cash.
On August 13, a married couple residing in the 500 block of Umbra St. began receiving calls about unpaid taxes and the threat of eviction should they be unwilling or unable to fulfill their obligation. They put together $1,000 on their coffee table. The “collector,” when asked for identification, pushed the 80-year-old man and the 79-year-old woman to the ground and made off with the cash.
On August 18, a 93-year-old man in the 3100 block of Foster St. received a call threatening him with eviction should he fail take care of an unpaid property tax bill. That same night, someone attempted to break into his home. He reported the incident to police. The very next evening, the same individual tried to break in again. A witness observed the attempt and reported it to the police.
On August 19, someone broke into a home in the 3100 block of Foster St., covered the face of a sleeping 90-year-old man, and demanded his cash. He directed him to savings of roughly $10,000.
Michael Fields, 34; Sierra McCoy, 27; Vaneka Powers, 32; and Christopher Pasco, 32, were also charged by a Baltimore Grand Jury in November 2012 for allegedly taking part in one or more of the robberies.
Christopher Pasco—James Pasco’s brother—is scheduled for trial on June 4, 2013. He is charged with burglary, robbery, theft, and obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult, among other counts.
McCoy and Powers are scheduled for trial on July 5, 2013. Both are charged with burglary, robbery, theft, and obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult, among other counts.
Michael Fields pled guilty last month to conspiracy theft of between $10,000 and $100,000 and received three years of probation.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Hastings prosecuted both James Pasco and Michael Fields.