PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix police have arrested more than a dozen people for bilking thousands of elderly victims out of $40 million in an elaborate telemarketing scheme.

Authorities announced at a news conference Wednesday that 13 suspects face multiple charges, including money laundering and theft from a vulnerable adult.

Police Chief Jeri Williams says more than 9,000 victims have been identified. Most live outside of Arizona and are age 65 or older.

According to police, telemarketers promised victims huge returns for investments. They would later ask for more money.

Police say investigators traced the operation, which dates back to 2014, to Phoenix.

The Federal Trade Commission helped get the operation shut down in 2016 and obtained $7 million to return to victims.

Police say it took three years to build the criminal case.

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