Canadian National Arrested in Springfield For Allegedly Defrauding the Elderly Across Central Illinois

By Benjamin Cox on June 22, 2023 at 3:29pm

A Canadian national was arrested in Springfield on Tuesday by members of the FBI-Springfield Field Office for multiple charges.

According to a federal complaint filed on Friday, on Tuesday, June 13th the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from an elderly rural Springfield couple who believed they had been scammed out of several thousands of dollars.

According to the complain on the morning of June 13th, the couple received a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandson who told them they had been in a car crash and had been arrested by the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office. The supposed family member said they needed $14,000 to be bailed out of jail. Follow-up phone calls were made by multiple individuals in relation to the alleged car crash, including one person saying they were the grandson’s attorney.

On the evening of the 13th, a subject came to their residents acting as a courier to pick up the money from the couple and then drove off eastbound on Old Jacksonville Road into Springfield. While detectives were interviewing the elderly couple about the incident a short time later, the couple’s real grandson arrived to the residence and said he had not been in a car crash, nor did he know the other individuals who had called the residence.

The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office was then able to retrieve information from surveillance footage of the couple’s home from security cameras as well as flock cameras in the area to locate the suspect’s vehicle and to gain a description of the individual who had picked up the money.

On June 14th, the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate and arrest 37-year old Sebastian Chelemen at the Red Roof Inn in the 3200 block of Singer Avenue in Springfield. Chelemen’s cell phone was seized along with over $138,000 in currency that he had allegedly taken via scheme concocted over the social media applications Telegram and Wickr, coordinating with a second party in Canada.

Detectives with the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI discovered that victims between the ages of 75-88 years of age had been taken in Springfield, Jacksonville, Riverton, Christian County, and Fulton County. The criminal complaint says that the investigation into this scheme remains open and ongoing.

Chelemen has been charged with Wire Fraud, Conspiracy, and Money Laundering.

He remains held in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. He is next due in Central Illinois federal court in Springfield on Monday.