A “granny scammer” who stole $45,000 from an Oceanside octogenarian by pretending her son needed bail money after an arrest now will pay a price of his own, according to Nassau prosecutors.
A judge on Thursday sentenced Frederik Regalado, 23, of the Bronx, to 1 to 3 years in prison, the Nassau District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Prosecutors said the defendant pleaded guilty in May to three grand larceny counts.
The elderly victim handed over the money in three bundles on Dec. 3, 2018, after getting three phone calls, according to prosecutors.
In the first, a caller told the 81-year-old she needed to provide $7,500 in bail money for her son because he’d been in a Manhattan car crash and arrested for drunken driving, prosecutors said.
They added that Regalado, while pretending to be a courier, came to the victim’s home and collected the cash early that afternoon.
Around two hours later, someone called the victim and said a judge had raised the bail amount because the woman whom her son hit in the crash had been pregnant and lost her fetus, according to prosecutors.
They said Regalado then returned to the victim’s home and collected another $7,500.
About two hours after that, a caller told the victim she also had to provide $30,000 for medical bills related to the crash, according to prosecutors.
The defendant then visited the victim’s house a third time and took that money, the district attorney’s office said.
But minutes later, the victim’s son called and she realized he wasn’t in jail, according to authorities, who said a judge on Thursday also ordered Regalado to pay the money back.
The victim’s electronic doorbell camera recorded video of the defendant taking money from her, smiling and giving her a thumbs-up. Authorities later released that video while asking for the public’s help identifying the culprit.
Tips flooded in that helped authorities to identify Regalado before they arrested him on Dec. 18 in Massachusetts.
Defense attorney Michael DerGarabedian said Friday that he represented Regalado and his client was only “a middleman” in the scam and not the caller who repeatedly contacted the victim.
“He only made about $600 and he wasn’t the ringleader. . . . He just drove there and got the money and gave it to someone else. The real thieves are still on the run,” DerGarabedian said.
Nassau police said after Regalado’s arrest that he was under investigation for a potential role in three other cases where victims lost nearly $65,000, and also was charged in a Lake Success scam.
A spokeswoman for Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Friday that all of those cases still are under investigation.
Singas said in a statement that Regalado “deserves every day in prison that he was sentenced to,” and urged people to be wary of “so-called granny scammers” who “prey on vulnerable seniors.”
The district attorney added that any scam victims can contact her office at 516-571-7755.