By Kelly Werthmann

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Four detectives with the Thornton Police Department were recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday. They each received an award for their role in an investigation of nationwide fraud scheme that took millions of dollars and targeted older adults.

(credit: CBS)

The detectives assisted in shutting down the high-level call center credit and gift card scheme in a partnership with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies.

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“That scheme preyed on elderly victims here in Colorado and across the United States stealing more than $377,000 from victims,” said Jason Dunn, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. “Collecting evidence to prosecute such a case is not easy. Our honorees did that piece by piece.”

During the morning award ceremony, Dunn explained the TPD detectives conducted numerous surveillance operations, covertly went through the suspects’ trash multiple times, even spent days shredding gift cards, and followed leads to East Asia.

(credit: CBS)

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“It’s not a surprise to me that our state would be home to such exceptional law enforcement officers,” he said. “This year, the Department of Justice received nominations for 355 officers around the country. Out of that number, 23 officers are being recognized and four are right here in Thornton. That says a lot just in terms of the incredible nature of this department.

Detectives Bryan Bennett, Ty Deichert, Fred Longobricco and Ian Ranchaw all received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. Together the detectives brought to justice two defendants from India living in Colorado. The two have pleaded guilty and are serving a five-year sentence in federal prison.

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Another 25 defendants are being monitored, according to TPD.

Kelly Werthmann