Feds Bust Gold Scam Run by Fake FBI Agent ‘Jon Stryker’

Ken Silva Ken Silva

Ken Silva

June 7th, 2024 Comments

The FBI arrested a man last week who was allegedly involved a scam in which a phony FBI agent named “Jon Stryker” would bilk elderly victims out of their gold.

Ramaraj Ganesan, 39, of California, faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in the alleged plot.

According to the FBI, an 83-year-old victim contacted agents on May 28 about losing $90,000 in a fraud scheme. The unnamed 83-year-old man had clicked on a pop-up screen that froze his computer. He called the number on the screen, which put him in touch with a man posing as “FBI special agent Jon Stryker.”

“Stryker told Adult Victim 1 that during his investigation, Adult Victim 1 was identified as an individual responsible for a cyber attack that occurred at the FBI Sacramento office, and that he would have to pay reparations for the financial loss of the office or else his assets would be frozen, and he would be arrested,” the FBI said in charging documents.

“Fearing that he would be arrested and also that he would not have any funds to pay for essential food or medical services for him and his wife, Adult Victim 1 followed the instructions given to him by Stryker.”

The victim apparently made three payments to Stryker before realizing he’d been scammed. The FBI and local law enforcement set up a sting for the fourth payment, arresting Ganesan when he went to pick up another $86,000 from the victim.

While searching Ganesan, officers allegedly found 36 ounces of gold bars in his backpack. Ganesan told them the gold bars were from a separate package pick-up that he conducted prior to the pick-up at the 83-year-old’s house.

Ganesan then claimed he was being threatened by someone into participating in the scheme, according to court documents.

As the investigation has developed, investigators said they learned of a similar case in Los Angeles involving FBI impersonators taking payments in the form of gold bars.

In that case, the victim also clicked on a link that caused a pop-up appear on his screen with a phone number. After calling the phone number, the victim was transferred to an individual claiming to be FBI Special Agent Jon Stryker and he was told the same fabricated story involving the FBI Sacramento office as the 83-year-old, according to the FBI.

Ganesan’s story is similar to that of a woman who was arrested in a Florida gold scam last month. Like Ganesan, the woman, Swetaben Patel, told officers that she was simply a courier—in her case, for a man she knew as “King.”

She reportedly told officers that one of her trips was to North Carolina to collect $25,000 from an elderly woman.

Many such cases appear to be popping up around the country.

According to an FBI report released in April, scammers stole more than $3.4 billion from Americans aged 60 and older last year—and those are only the reported incidents. That includes victims losing over $55 million during the last eight months of 2023 to scams involving cash and precious metal couriers.

Idaho’s Department of Finance released a warning about the latest trend on May 16.

“Idahoans should be distrustful of anyone requesting the purchase of physical gold or precious metals for government or business purposes. Physical gold/precious metal scams are conducted by sophisticated illicit actors and organized crime groups, and it is vital for Idahoans to be diligent and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves,” said IDOF Director Patricia Perkins.

Ken Silva

About the Author:

Ken Silva is an investigative reporter for Headline USA whose reporting interests include FBI corruption, clandestine government activities, and extremist groups.